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Is Construction Scaffolding Safe?

Construction is among one of the most dangerous forms of labour in the world.  Risk emerges from the hazard of falling from a dangerous height. Every year 40% of fatalities were from fall hazards. It is estimated that 65% of workers in the construction industry use scaffolds to perform their work. 

In addition to the ever-present risk of falling, construction workers must face the perilous threat of electrocutions, falling objects and potential lethal machine malfunctions. Before any work begins, an assessment must be made whether or not scaffolding is actually as safe as it could be. 

Scaffolding erection must always be completed by trained professionals working to OSHA standards. These standards can be simplified to three key stages of extended use of scaffolding. These standards that are followed by industry professionals to minimise the threat of physical harm. 

Stage 1: Assembling the Scaffold

It is important that the structure is put together with thorough scrutiny and care. The team that is building this structure need to be trained to approach the undertaking with a professional and serious attitude. The entire process should be overseen by an experienced handler of the equipment in question who is competent and qualified. 

assembling a scaffold

Once the structure has been assembled, it should be carefully inspected by an experienced member of the team. The inspection will identify any weaknesses in the joints or surfaces. In addition to all other measures, each worker must be well aware of the structure's load-bearing capacity. As long as this stage is practised the potential for injury is reduced. Therefore a safety inspection will ensure the foundation of construction worker safety. 

Stage 2: The Use of the Scaffold

Whilst the structure is standing workers should ensure that it isn't altered, dismantled or moved in any way without the supervision of a trained handler. Before the scaffolding is used at the start of every working shift the structure ought to be inspected to determine if its' condition is fit for use. 

If any of the circumstances on the site change and new hazards are introduced, a worker may find themselves unqualified to handle the situation. Workers must remain vigilant regarding such changes. They should seek out the required training should they find their qualification lacking. 

using a scaffold to repoint chimney

Be sure that you don't leave any items or materials upon the scaffolding after your shift has concluded. These pose a potential risk to the next worker's footing or items can fall from the structure causing serious head injuries.

It is crucial that workers refrain from overloading any surfaces on the structure. Be mindful of its weight limit. In addition to this workers should avoid being raised too high without the required barricade. Safety barriers minimise the probability of them falling should their balance fail.

Stage 3: Dismantling the Scaffold

Once the scaffolding is no longer needed it needs to be safely removed. Under the supervision of a competent expert, the structure should be dismantled in the safest order possible. The process should ensure that no load-bearing sections are dismantled too early. 

All protective gear should be worn and any intentions should be communicated clearly before they are put into action. As long as these steps are followed, the chance of harm should be minimal.