Scaffolding can be a make or break in terms of Health & Safety, but when used correctly these temporary structures can elevate you safely to places you’d only dream of reaching with a standard ladder.
But they do still come with significant risks, especially if they are not erected, maintained, and used correctly in line with a suitable risk assessment during a project.
Who Else Uses Scaffolding?
The risks however do not stop scaffolding from being utilised across other industries other than construction.
These temporary structures open up many opportunities for work, including for those carrying out routine maintenance and installation work to even those looking to get creative such as the tv and film industry looking to reach new heights capturing those all-important action shots.
Scaffolding can also provide a great platform for window cleaners, ski ramps, concerts and even those branching out to make home improvements, the sky really is the limit.
Don’t however let things come crashing down with poor construction just one of many hazards which can hinder your project.
Watch Our Short Video / Download Our Handy Risk Assessment Template
We have identified our top 5 hazards related to scaffolding, take a look and make sure you’re prepared with your RAMS to hand:
1. Poor scaffolding assembly
The last thing you want from your scaffolding is for it to come crashing down. A loose bolt could very soon become a casualty or fatality. Ensure the scaffolding is designed and erected by an assigned and suitable competent person.
2. Damaged scaffolding
Scaffolding can easily become damaged throughout a project, by either weather or from day-to-day use by workers. To combat this, your scaffolding must be checked before it is used for the first time and then every 7 days until it is removed. Any defects can then be raised by the competent person to be rectified.
3. Lack of fall prevention
As we all know falls from height are notorious for being top of the fatality and non-fatality statistics in the UK, so suitable fall prevention methods would be a great start when implenting control measures. Fall arrest systems should do the trick and include options such as a body harness with connecting means and anchor points to prevent unwanted incidents.
4. Overloading platforms
Weight limits are there for a reason and this is something which would be considered in the design phase to ensure the scaffolding and its materials are fit for purpose in regard to the job. For example, a window cleaner will require less load than that of a construction worker handling roof tiles or other building-related materials. Overloading a scaffolding structure/platform is one of the easiest ways of bringing it down, potentially causing serious injury or fatality. Never ignore weight limits to save time, it will only land you in hot water.
5. Lack of effective training
A lack of training in any position can cause mistakes, so why take the chance in such a high-risk environment. A lack of investment at this stage could unravel all the good work you’ve already done to either get the work in the first place or to source the materials etc. Consider work-at-height training for all workers so that they understand their responsibilities in this working environment. Also, ensure that the structure and risk assessment are carried out by a responsible person. It is also vital that all workers on the structure read said risk assessment.
Supporting Your Health & Safety Requirements
We have been providing health & safety consultancy services since 2009 and we know a thing or two regarding scaffolding and the risk assessments which can align with your project. So, whether you are just looking for some friendly advice or more we can assist. Feel free to download our free risk assessment template below or if you’d like further assistance on a project, please get in touch with our team on 01623 827 850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.