Scaffolding is a miracle tool, but it can be quite dangerous if you do not respect it. Any worker that’s dealing with scaffolding frequently knows that they need to be extra careful when using this tech. To help everyone stay safe, here are ten must-know scaffolding safety tips for America’s workforce (and home improvement enthusiasts):
1. Stay Legally Protected
Even if you try your best to stay protected on scaffolding, and follow every safety protocol, accidents can and will happen. When you’re harmed in a scaffolding accident due to faulty equipment, the reckless actions of others, or poor site management, you can seek financial restitution for your pain and suffering. Protecting those harmed in scaffolding accidents is crucial to making America a safer place to work for everyone.
2. Be Aware of Load Limits
Few things can cause scaffolding to collapse, or buckle, quite like exceeding recommended load limits. It’s never worth cutting corners or trying to go beyond the pale when dealing with something as potentially-dangerous as scaffolding. When a scaffolding setup breaks, it can lead to devastating, and even life-threatening injuries, after all. By dedicating yourself to only using approved and tested load limits, you will prevent major accidents from happening at your workplace.
3. Use Safety Equipment
Safety equipment is non-negotiable when using scaffolding. Especially if you’re on a job site, wearing safety equipment will keep you more prepared, safe, and productive. Wearing helmets, and using safety harnesses can prevent you from falling to your death in the case of an accident. Wearing non-slip footgear when working on scaffolding is also of utmost importance. Those using scaffolding for home improvement tasks need to wear and use safety equipment as well.
4. Remain Organized
When you’re working on scaffolding, it can be a major pain (and dangerous) to have to go up and down constantly. To avoid this situation, you need to stay organized, and carefully plan out your work sessions. The more organized you are, the safer your work session will be. Additionally, you’ll be much more aware of any adjustments the scaffolding may need.
5. Avoid Inclement Weather
It’s never a good idea to use scaffolding during inclement weather. Heavy rain, snow, or wind can cause the scaffolding to collapse, and can also cause you to slip and fall off of the scaffolding, after all. If you’re being pressured into working on scaffolding during inclement weather, you should contact an attorney ASAP to help you fight for your rights as a worker.
6. Prevent Obstructions
Whether it be vehicles, heavy equipment, materials, or debris, making sure that you prevent obstructions from blocking the pathways up, down, and around scaffolding setups is critical to staying safe. When you put someone in a situation where they have to try to awkwardly get around an obstruction, you’re putting them in direct danger. By avoiding this behavior, you will make your workplace much safer and more organized.
7. Perform Frequent Inspections
Scaffolding may seem simple, but it only takes minor mistakes or malfunctioning pieces to cause a disastrous accident. With this in mind, you should be performing frequent inspections on scaffolding to ensure it’s both safe to use, and that it does not need dire maintenance. Not only will this keep everyone using the scaffolding safer, but it will help avoid the need for preventable repairs as well.
8. Use the Right Material
Scaffolding can come in many different forms. The different materials used to craft a scaffolding setup, or to secure it, can vary wildly. Depending on where you are working, or how tall the scaffolding being constructed is, the process and needed materials will differ drastically. Trusting the professionals is key to staying safe in this regard.
9. Stay Aware and Alert
Distracted work is always dangerous. When dealing with something as potentially dangerous as scaffolding, staying aware and alert of your surroundings becomes that much more crucial. Doing so will allow you to avoid easily preventable accidents, and can help you protect your co-workers as well. Especially if you work on a busy site, you need to stay as alert as humanly possible.
10. Build Correctly
Finally, it’s key that you build your scaffolding exactly as it’s intended to be built. While this advice may seem like a no-brainer, many of the worst scaffolding-involved accidents occur due to people trying to cut corners or invent new (unapproved or tested) ways of building more efficient scaffolding. By sticking to the book, you’ll ensure that preventable accidents do not occur due to reckless or misinformed building practices. This remains a major issue on every job site that uses scaffolding, even in 2023.
We hope you found this blog post on 10 Must-Know Scaffolding Safety Tips Everyone Should Know useful. Be sure to check out our post on Moving Building Materials Safely on a Construction Site for more great tips!