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Site Safety – Scaffold Safety

By May 6, 2017Uncategorized

Scaffold systems are an efficient and safe way of  providing a temporary elevated work platform. However, it is important to erect and use scaffolds properly as accidents can occur. The primary causes of scaffold accidents include failure of attachment points; footing, parts failure; inadequate fall protection; and adverse climate conditions (such as high winds). Falls are 80% of all scaffold injuries; of those injured, 60% involve skilled trades and 24% are laborers. Employees can prevent many of these accidents with good old common sense. Here are some things to keep in mind before using a scaffold:

General Guidelines for Using Scaffolds

  • Erect all scaffolds under proper supervision
  • lnsure that scaffolds and ladders are filmiy supported on dry, solid footings, plumb and properly secured
  • Do not install scaffolding on frozen, wet or un-compacted earth or with methods not recommended by the manufacturer
  • Inspect scaffold prior to use. Assign this task to a competent person.
  • Free all scaffolds of defective or damaged parts
  • Tie all scaffolds securely and safely into the structure
  • Ensure all structural members are adequate for use in proposed work
  • Check all connections and pins
  • Provide cross bracing
  • Have and use access ladders properly
  • Fall protection is required for workers on platforms 6 feet or higher.
  • Eliminate debris, ice, mud, from all ladders and working surfaces
  • Plank all working areas and service all planks
  • Inspect all scaffolds frequently. Overlap all planks by 12 inches
  • Train all employees adequately in use of scaffold and ladders.

When installing all guardrails, mid-rails, and toe-boards in work areas, make sure they meet the following strength requirements:

  • Guard-rails — height is 42″ (+/-3″) and at least 200 lbs. in strength
  • Mid-rails — set midway between guardrail & walking surface and 150 lbs. in strength
  • Toe-boards — typically 1″ x 4” construction
  • Working platforms/decks must be planked close to the guardrails
  • Planks – overlap on a support at by 12 inches.

BE SAFE — Before you use a scaffold, take the time to think it out. Use good judgment and common sense.