The Do’s & Don’ts of Scaffolding Safety

Scaffolding is a common task in construction, and it is a dangerous task if done improperly. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 61 fatalities that were associated with scaffolding. All fatalities relating to scaffolding are preventable and OSHA has very specific scaffolding standards in place that outline the safe methods of constructing, and breaking down scaffolding, as well as safe usage. Workers who understand the risks associated with scaffolding are significantly less likely to sustain an injury or accident when working on or near scaffolding.

The Do’s of Scaffolding Safety

  1. Only allow a qualified person to train scaffolding workers.
  2. Ensure a competent person inspects and approves the scaffold prior to each shift.
  3. Always wear proper PPE around scaffolding depending upon the type of scaffold. (hard hat, personal fall arrest system)
  4. Determine the maximum load for your scaffold prior to using it.
  5. Setup barriers around the scaffolding base to prevent accidental contact such as vehicles.
  6. Use three points of contact at all times when maneuvering on the scaffolding.
  7. Ensure your scaffolding has overhead clearance and that nothing dangerous may contact it such as power lines.

The Don’ts of Scaffolding Safety

  1. Don’t overload the scaffold’s maximum intended load.
  2. Don’t leave items unattended on the scaffolding as they can fall or cause trip hazards for others.
  3. Don’t use a damaged scaffold regardless of the amount of damage.
  4. Don’t use scaffolding that has missing parts.
  5. Don’t use scaffolding that has slip hazards on it like ice, water or mud.
  6. Don’t use scaffolding when severe weather is present. (high winds, rain, snow, fog)

Importance of Proper Training

Proper fall protection and scaffolding training allow for workers to safely perform their work. Remember, only qualified trainers are permitted to train employees on scaffolding. Training should include teaching workers how to recognize hazards, and understand how to eliminate those hazards. Additional training for erectors and dismantlers is also required for what type of scaffolding is being erected and dismantled. Retraining is another important aspect of training that should occur any time an employee lacks the proper skills or understanding to work safely around scaffolding. With proper training, you can ensure worker safety and compliance.

Scaffolding training can sound like an overwhelming task, but Onsite Safety can assist you and your team!

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