Essential Safety – What is a scaffold, scaffolding and scaffolding work?
A scaffold is a temporary structure which is used to provide stable access to an elevated surface or working platform.
Scaffolds are often used for construction or maintenance work on elevated parts of buildings.
Scaffolds are built using tubes, frames, and couplers, parts of scaffolding, which come together to make a framework and a platform.
These platforms must meet certain health and safety requirements to ensure that they are safe for the people who work on them.
Scaffolding work is the work that is done to erect, alter or dismantle the scaffolding.
If a platform is tall enough that it is more than 4 meters above the ground then there are strict requirements in terms of who can do the work, and what licenses they must have.
Scaffolding safety must be taken seriously.
While different parts of the world have their own requirements in terms of health and safety requirements, those who design scaffolding, and the contractors who carry out work on it, must meet specific requirements.
Risks can be managed in a number of ways, for example:
- Examine areas where scaffolding is to be erected, to ensure that it will not interfere with pedestrians, fixed structures or vehicles.
- Look at the environment to ensure that it is safe and that the ground is stable
- Check the scaffolding to confirm that the joins are secure and that it is safe
- Ask workers to share any concerns about how they interact with the scaffold on a day to day basis
- Inspect scaffolding that is already standing to ensure it is still strong and stable
- Review incident and accident logs regularly
Risk Management With Scaffolding
Where possible, working at heights should be avoided or steps are taken to reduce the risk of any scaffolding work.
For example, workers could use cranes or hoists to lift equipment instead of doing it by hand.
Barriers can be used to reduce the risk of vehicles colliding with scaffolding, and frames and clips implemented to stop a person from falling.
All workers on a construction site should be using PPE so that they are protected from injury risk as much as possible.
PPE may vary from site to site but high vis vests, appropriate footwear and hard hats are fairly standard.
Scaffolding is a Temporary Measure
Workers and site managers should note that scaffolding is intended for temporary use only and that it works best in environments where the weather is good.
If you are expecting poor weather (e.g. high winds), then scaffolding should not be used.
If you expect the work to take a long time then it is vital that the scaffolding is properly maintained to protect workers and passers-by.
Always perform risk assessments and always re-evaluate the risk when there are changes to the job site.
Scaffolding work should be performed by someone who is properly certified, and the materials used for it should be appropriate for the job.
We are experts in the field of scaffolding and temporary fencing and can support property owners with the tools and equipment they need for all sizes of job, as well as offering ongoing scaffolding erection and teardown services.
Whether you are a homeowner looking to fix up your roof, or a commercial property owner who needs much more extensive work performed, ask a professional.
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