Scaffolding accidents are one of the leading causes of construction-related injuries and death. These accidents are commonly caused by structural malfunction, collapses, falls and being hit by falling objects. Employers and workers can reduce the risk of scaffolding accidents by taking safety measures. Here are ways to prevent scaffolding accidents:
Inspect scaffolding before use
Workers need to perform a visual inspection of the scaffolds daily, before and after each work shift, and after any accident that may have caused damage. Defective scaffolds or parts that are worn out should be discarded and replaced. In addition, workers should inspect personal fall protection. Many accidents can be prevented by making sure that the scaffolds are stable.
Adhere to guidelines
Generally, there are guidelines given for scaffold set up and use. It is important for workers to adhere to guidelines, including set up specifications, instructions for use, load capacities, and other guidelines. Using a scaffold as directed can help to avoid preventable accidents.
Train workers properly
Workers who set up and use scaffolds should be trained prior to initial job assignment. They need to be aware of the scaffold design, proper use of the scaffold, how to perform a visual inspection, and how to erect and dismantle scaffolds. Workers should also learn how to climb on and descend the scaffolding safely, and how to properly use fall protection equipment and gear.
Ensure scaffold stability
Scaffolds should be erected on solid footing and adequately braced to ensure stability. Poles, legs, and uprights should be secured firmly to prevent swaying and displacement. Avoid using unstable objects to support for scaffolds, such as: bricks, concrete blocks, barrels or boxes.
Use the proper safety equipment
Workers should use scaffolds that incorporate guardrails, in order to ensure safety. A safety harness tied to a solid structure should also be used when scaffolding. In addition, it is important to wear non-slip footwear, head protection, and other personal protection equipment.
Know the load capacity
Scaffolds are designed to hold a certain weight. Workers should be aware of the maximum load capacity to avoid a scaffold collapse.
Beware of power lines
Scaffolds must be erected at least 10 feet away from energized power lines. Alternatively, power lines near scaffolds should be disconnected to prevent electrocution.
It’s important for workers to store their tools, supplies and other equipment on scaffolds, in an orderly manner, because the space is limited on a scaffold. Keeping the work area free of obstruction, can help prevent scaffolding accidents.
Construction debris or spills should be cleaned regularly to prevent slips that can lead to deadly falls from heights.