How to prevent falls and injuries when working on scaffolding
Jun. 22, 2022

How to prevent falls and injuries when working on scaffolding

One of the main purposes of scaffolding is to enable construction workers or traders to reach hard-to-reach places so they can perform certain tasks, such as roofers doing repairs or window cleaners.

Activities that require scaffolding

Scaffolding for home improvement

When a homeowner or landlord decides to expand a kitchen, remodel an attic, or replace a dilapidated roof, they often need to erect scaffolding to get the job done.

Construction workers may need access towers to get to the roof, or work platforms to make their work more comfortable and get the job done faster.

Scaffolding is not always required for domestic construction projects; however, if you are unsure whether your job requires it, please contact us via EMAIL and we can advise you further.

Scaffolding for painters and decorators

Painters are expected to be working at considerable heights, which means that scaffolding is important to keep them safe and provide a safe working platform.

They need to be able to keep tools and equipment at their side while working and move around the site with easy and safe access to all areas of the building.

Building Maintenance Scaffolding

When maintenance work is performed on a building (usually gutters or roofs), there is an increased risk of injury due to faults being repaired. These can be unstable surfaces, loose tiles, and structures that are at risk of falling.

Therefore, scaffolding can help reduce these risks by providing safe surfaces and areas for work.

Scaffolding for window cleaners

Cleaning the windows of large commercial buildings such as office buildings, hotels, and retail stores requires more than a ladder. Windows are often up to twenty stories high, putting window cleaners at risk of falling from deadly heights.

Scaffolding is a way to keep them safe and allow them to get the job done easily and comfortably.

How to prevent falls and injuries when working on scaffolding

Scaffolding for building inspections

Building inspections include checking the reliability and safety of buildings and structures. This inspection requires the installation of safety equipment, such as scaffolding, as it often involves inspecting parts of the infrastructure, which may be located hundreds of meters above the ground. Also, you must keep in mind that the scaffolding installed should meet safety standards.

How to prevent falls and injuries when working on scaffolding

How to prevent falls and injuries when working on scaffolding

Scaffolding is an important asset and useful structure when properly installed and used; however, working at heights can also present many risks and dangers.

Falling increases the risk of serious or fatal injury, the possibility of being struck by falling tools, materials, or debris, and the risk of electric shock due to proximity to overhead power lines.

It is the responsibility of the site manager and scaffold inspector to ensure that a site is a safe place to work and to take all precautions to reduce the risks posed by working at heights.

How to prevent falls and injuries when working on scaffolding

Try to avoid working at heights

Sometimes you can get work done without working at heights, it is important to assess whether this is necessary before starting work, as working at heights should be avoided as much as possible.

It is best to identify hazards and what needs to be done to reduce them by conducting a thorough risk assessment before starting work.

Work at heights should not continue if alternatives are available, or if the risk is too high.

Check your scaffolding

Scaffolding inspections are essential and should be done immediately after the scaffolding is erected and before any work is done on it to ensure its safety, then weekly.

A professional and thorough inspection will identify any weaknesses or hazards in the structure, for example, if it is not level or adequately supported or connected to the building.

It will also reveal any missing parts/pieces that could protect your workers, such as handrails and crash decks.

Provide proper training and personal protective equipment

Likewise, all workers should be provided with proper training and personal protective equipment to work at heights before work begins.

This will ensure they understand their responsibilities and the safety measures/procedures they need to follow to prevent falls or injuries and are educated on the proper use of equipment to protect them, which may include helmets, seat belts and fall arrest kits.

Keep your workspace tidy

A clean and tidy work environment not only makes work faster and easier, it also makes employees safer.

Slips, trips, and falls are mainly caused by poor housekeeping in all industries, especially in construction where tools, work materials, and debris are often left around, creating a tripping hazard.

By simply encouraging field crews to tidy up themselves and keep sidewalks clear, you can greatly reduce the risk of an accident.

Assess your surroundings

Weather is another hazard that can lead to accidents, especially with strong winds blowing material and debris from the scaffolding to the ground below.

Therefore, any work at heights should be discontinued when hazardous weather is expected, including strong winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms, and snowfall.

People working at heights often come into contact with overhead power lines that pose a risk of electric shock.

While this will usually be included in relevant training that should be completed before work begins, and hazards will be identified in any risk assessment conducted, it needs to be clearly communicated to workers so that they understand that these potential risks endanger them.

How to prevent falls and injuries when working on scaffolding

Don't cut corners

Most importantly, in terms of training, equipment, inspections - whatever we mentioned - the most important thing is that you take your time and pay attention to make sure everything is done correctly.

Don't try to save money by using cheap PPE that may not be as effective, and don't try to rush things by skipping checks so you can get right to work because this is where mistakes are made and workers are at risk.

Never sacrifice site safety for speed, convenience, or cost, and always take the time to be as thorough as possible, even if it delays work.

The safety of your workers and site visitors is the most important part of your job, so seeking advice and support from a professional team can also help ensure falls and injuries are prevented.

Like all elevated work platforms, safety procedures and protecting your workers on site should be the number one priority. Even low-rise buildings require an effective support scaffolding setup, so if you're not sure which one to use, please email us today and get in touch for expert advice.