Did you know there are over 4,500 scaffolding-related injuries each year?
Oftentimes, these scaffolding-related injuries are due to the planking giving way, the employee slipping and falling, or being struck by a plunging object.
This appalling number of injuries shines a light on the importance of following the proper safety precautions when it comes to the usage of scaffolding.
Today we’re going to go over the top three tips when it comes to scaffolding safety. These will help prevent injuries and avoid workplace accidents!
Wear the Appropriate Work Attire & Safety Equipment
As previously stated, plunging objects are a common source of scaffolding-related injuries.
Therefore, it’s important to wear the appropriate clothing and footwear like Timberland work boots when working on the job site. This includes work pants, a hard hat, and to be extra cautious, work gloves and safety glasses.
Also, because slipping and falling is another common issue when it comes to workplace accidents, it’s important to wear non-slip work boots. This doesn’t solely apply to using a scaffold, however. Non-slip work boots are a standard in construction safety.
In addition, if your scaffolding is higher than 10 feet above ground level, you should always use fall arrest equipment. According to OSHA, you should never use the scaffold itself as an anchor point unless it has been properly evaluated. Therefore, before using a scaffold, you should always have it evaluated by a professional.
Ensure Your Scaffolding is Built Properly
It’s important to note that not all scaffolds are equal. Some require specific fasteners and bracing systems that aren’t compatible with all scaffolds.
Therefore, you should never combine scaffolding parts from different manufacturers. Always review the safety manual of the scaffold you’re using to ensure it’s built properly.
Additionally, you should make sure the area you’re placing your scaffolding is on level ground, free of any power lines, vehicles, and other construction equipment.
Furthermore, we recommend purchasing scaffolding from trusted brands that are OSHA and ANSI compliant. Some of these brands include MetalTech, Badger Ladder, and Northern Tool.
Pay Mind to Load Limits
According to The Environmental Health and Safety division at Virginia Tech, a scaffold should be capable of supporting its weight and at least four times the intended maximum load limit.
Keep in mind, the weight on your scaffold can add up rather quickly when you account for people, hand tools, and materials.
Scaffolds are generally grouped into three categories – light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. OSHA has its regulations when it comes to the load limits on each of these types of scaffolds:
- Light Duty – 25 pounds per square foot
- Medium Duty – 50 pounds per square foot
- Heavy Duty – 75 pounds per square foot
Accordingly, most scaffolds are medium duty. However, to be precise, the rating of your scaffold can be calculated by using the following formula:
Total weight between the two spans / Total area between the two spans
Why Scaffolding Safety is Important
Statistics show that every year, over 50 deaths occur due to scaffolding-related incidents.
That being said, scaffolding safety should be a top priority when it comes to building and using a scaffold.
Some of the most important tips to consider when using a scaffold include wearing the appropriate work attire, ensuring your scaffold is properly built & inspected, and paying mind to load limits.
By following these tips, you can avoid any future citations or injuries.
If you’re interested in learning more job-related tips, be sure to check out our numerous other guides!