Important Steps To Scaffolding Safety

While it isn't surprising that 65% of those employed in the construction industry work on scaffolding, it may be surprising to learn that each year about 4,500 injuries and over 60 deaths directly involve accidents from scaffolding. And 72% of those injuries can be attributed to planking/support giving way or to the worker being struck by a falling object. Fortunately, these accidents can be prevented by implementing the following solutions as recommended by OSHA:

  1. Scaffold must be sound, rigid and sufficient to carry its own weight plus four times the maximum intended load without settling or displacement. It must be erected on solid footing.
  2. Unstable objects, such as barrels, boxes, loose bricks or concrete blocks must not be used to support scaffolds or planks.
  3. Scaffold must not be erected, moved, dismantled or altered except under the supervision of a competent person.
  4. Scaffold must be equipped with guardrails, midrails and toeboards.
  5. Scaffold accessories such as braces, brackets, trusses, screw legs or ladders that are damaged or weakened from any cause must be immediately repaired or replaced.
  6. Scaffold platforms must be tightly planked with scaffold plank grade material or equivalent.
  7. A "competent person" must inspect the scaffolding and, at designated intervals, reinspect it.
  8. Rigging on suspension scaffolds must be inspected by a competent person before each shift and after any occurrence that could affect structural integrity to ensure that all connections are tight and that no damage to the rigging has occurred since its last use.
  9. Synthetic and natural rope used in suspension scaffolding must be protected from heat-producing sources.
  10. Employees must be instructed about the hazards of using diagonal braces as fall protection.
  11. Scaffold can be accessed by using ladders and stairwells.
  12. Scaffolds must be at least 10 feet from electric power lines at all times.