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.