Scaffold towers are elevated temporary work platforms used for supporting employees or materials or both. Statistics show that every year, many workers die, either using or erecting scaffolding. These numbers certainly show a constant need for protection and training for workers that use scaffolding. Here are important tips to keep you safe and ensure that scaffold is erected properly.
First things first! You must ensure that only qualified personnel are erecting scaffolding to prevent putting any construction worker at risk of serious injuries. If you are carrying out scaffolding work where there is a risk of a person or object falling more than four meters, you must hold a scaffolding high-risk work licence. In Australia, there are 3 types of scaffolding high-risk work license: basic, intermediate and advanced. These licences allow workers to erect various types of scaffold towers depending on their qualifications.
REVIEW AND PREPARING THE SITE
Look at the environment in which the scaffold is to be erected including checking the ground conditions. Carrying out the task of erecting a scaffold on an uneven or unsteady ground is bad practice. Therefore before erecting a scaffold, a competent person must survey the site for uneven ground, untapped earth fills, ditches or other hazardous conditions. The scaffold base must be properly set on base plates and the surface must be as flat as possible, the soil impenetrable to prevent slipping for sinking in any weather.
SAFETY OF PEDESTRIANS
Take special care to protect people that might be working or walking near the site. Therefore erect smart fencing and safety barriers will deter people that may otherwise wander into a place where they may be injured. Measures to ensure the safety of pedestrians include:
- Put up signs and barriers to divert the public away from the operation
- Integrate crash decks and tunnels to steer people away from the construction site
- Obtain a temporary street/ sidewalk closure during the course of scaffold erection
CONTROL MEASURES TO PREVENT WORKERS FROM POTENTIAL FALL
To mitigate the risk of falls, the contractors must implement the following safe work measures:
- When lifting or lowering materials, scaffolders should be working within a handling platform, which is completely boarded with toe boards and double guardrails.
- A minimum of three board working platforms along with a single guardrail should be supplied.
- Safety harnesses should be put on all the time by the scaffolders and should be fitted with a 1.75m length lanyard and a 55mm opening scaffold hook or similar.
Training is the most paramount factor in mitigating the risks and accidents on the site. There is no substitute to sound knowledge, effective training of scaffolders and constant supervision. Contractors, clients and others must ensure that all safety standards must be continuously performed on the site and premises. Therefore you must verify the license and training levels of scaffolders and their supervisors as also ensure that scaffolders follow all appropriate safety standards.
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