If you're finally reaching that stage of your construction or renovation project where it's time to get hands-on, you might be looking for solutions for your elevated work. One of the best ways to complete elevated construction safely is with the use of scaffolding. If you've never used it before, it's important that you understand the basics before you try to jump into it. Here are some of the fundamentals that you should know for safe scaffolding use.
Take The Time For Safety Training
One of the most important parts of using scaffolding safely is having the proper training to do it. There are many places where you can obtain training for proper use of scaffolding, so take the time to attend before you try to even assemble it. That way, you'll know not only how to assemble it correctly but also how to inspect it for safety, how to use it properly, and how to avoid the injury risks that can come with it.
Just make sure that whoever you seek training from is someone who is certified in scaffolding use, safety, and assembly. You may even want to have someone on-site with you the first time you assemble and inspect it to be sure that you are doing it correctly.
After the initial training, don't dismiss the importance of continued education if you run into something on the property that you're not familiar with or not trained to deal with. It's important that you recognize your limitations and address them accordingly.
Conduct Thorough Inspections
Scaffolding should never be used without being inspected. This means that there should be an inspection done before the start of every day and after a lunch break when nobody has been on it. Check all of the supports, platforms, and fasteners for security and ensure that nothing is damaged, loose, or out of place. If anything does not look right, don't use the scaffolding until you can have it evaluated by a licensed professional.
Require Safety Equipment
Everyone on the scaffolding should wear fall-prevention materials at all times. These can include straps and anchors or other materials. Include safety rails on each platform when possible as well. This reduces the risk of slipping and falling.
Nobody should be allowed on or near the area of the scaffolding without wearing proper safety equipment. This means eye protection and a hard hat at the minimum. Tools can slip off scaffolding platforms, and they can cause serious injuries if they hit someone.
Keep The Platforms Clear
Always clean up tools, supplies, and other equipment from the platforms when you get down from the scaffolding. Leaving things like this on the platforms creates trip hazards. Whether you are just taking a break or are done for the day, make sure that nothing is left behind.
Do not get on wet or icy platforms. Make sure that you dry them completely before allowing anyone on them. Even just wet platforms can be slippery, and the fewer fall risks you face, the better.
Be Mindful Of Weight Limitations
Every set of scaffolding is rated for a certain weight capacity. That capacity includes both the workers as well as any and all equipment and supplies being carried and used on the platforms. Make sure that you know what the weight rating is for the scaffolding you use, and always ensure that you stay below that weight limitation when you have workers and materials on the scaffold.
The more aware you are of the safety and best practices with scaffolding, the better the chances of a successful project. Take the time to learn about your scaffolding, or hire a contractor who specializes in the assembly and maintenance of the equipment to oversee your project.