In a variety of professions, particularly those in the construction or renovation industry, working at heights becomes necessary. In order to access high areas on or around a building, a scaffold system is normally relied on.
A steel or aluminium frame with planks and ladders secured to it, this kind of platforming solution is a common sight on construction sites and outside buildings (such as when a painter needs to repaint a section of wall they can’t reach normally).
While the purpose of a scaffold system is to provide a safe means of accessing high areas, they can themselves be dangerous if misused or if they are of low-quality. These systems can and will collapse in the event that due diligence is not performed, and this can lead to an expensive mess at best or even injury and death at worst.
Therefore, it’s essential that maximum safety precautions are taken in all aspects of using a scaffold. The following will go into this in more detail.
1. Buy/hire a high-quality product
When it comes to the safety of any kind of gear, it needs to start with manufacturing and testing. The materials used to build a scaffold need to be high-quality and resistant to the effects of prolonged use in outdoor environments.
Compromising on the quality of the product you acquire can put people in harm’s way, and this is why manufacturers go to great lengths to assure the quality of what they create. You should only ever buy a platforming product from a reputable supplier/manufacturer who can assure you of its quality.
By sourcing your scaffold from a reliable supplier or manufacturer, you have done part of your due diligence as they will be liable for the claims they make.
2. Ensure you and your team are trained on safety protocols
It’s not enough to simply buy or hire a high-quality scaffold system – you need to know how to correctly erect and use it. Without the right knowledge on how to properly set up and use the system, you and your team will be at risk, including anyone surrounding the structure.
A high-quality system can still collapse if it is not erected properly or used according to the correct guidelines. For example, you need to ensure it is built on stable ground and that proper anchors are in place to prevent it from being affected by wind or something bumping into it.
Other safety protocols pertain to how a scaffold can be used. For example, you need to ensure that tools are secured to a belt and are not left unattended where they could be knocked off and fall down. There have been several deaths from tools/materials falling from platforming when they were not secured correctly.
3. Use a safety inspector
Another important thing you need to do when operating a scaffold is to engage a professional safety inspector. Their role is to inspect the platforming on a daily basis to ensure that it is in working order and identify any potential issues.
They will be the one to give the tick of approval to use the scaffold, and they can give you and your team peace of mind. They are an essential person to have on a construction site that is using this kind of platforming for an extended period of time.
At the end of the day, scaffolds are very important pieces of kit that need to be taken seriously at all times. Failing to undertake your due diligence when it comes to this kind of gear can have serious consequences.