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Risks in the use of scaffolds (and how to avoid them)

Scaffolds are a key piece in many works, and yet they are also the ones that cause a high number of work accidents due to their bad assembly or some negligent actions. We tell you which are the most common risks in the use of scaffolding and also tips on how to avoid them.

Companies like Construction Safety Albury are concerned about providing efficiency and safety to perform any type of work at heights, complying with the technical standards and corresponding accreditations.

There are different types of scaffolds, but the most common risks in any of them are:

1- Falls at different levels

They may be due to incorrect assembly or disassembly of the structure. Also, because it does not have enough width at the bases of the scaffolding, in such a way that they impede the good circulation or mobility of the workers. Lack of guardrails is also a risk factor.

2- Tipping over of the scaffold

It can be caused because it was not mounted on a firm and even surface. Another cause is that the work platform has given way due to an overload or due to the short distance between the scaffold and the facade of the work.

3- Materials falling on people.

Some measures to prevent these common risks are:

– The assembly and disassembly of the scaffold must only be carried out by suitable and qualified personnel. If the scaffold has wheels, before starting the work, the correct blocking of the wheels must be confirmed. All platforms that are located at a height of more than two meters must have perimeter railings.

– The width of the work platform must be at least 60 cm.

– You should not work on the scaffold when the weather conditions are unsuitable: for example, storms, strong winds, etc.

– The work area must be properly marked, especially when it comes to places of passage. In this way, we prevent people from circulating there due to the potential fall of objects.

– In the assembly phase, the personnel must complete each section completely before continuing with the next one. Special attention must be paid to the ties to the structure, as they are the main guarantee of stability of the scaffold against overturning. The tightening or fitting of the joining elements must also be verified.

– The stringers play an essential role in the safety of the scaffold. In no way should they be removed, although it is common for operators to do so because at some point, they consider that they interfere with the execution of some work.

– Regarding the platforms, they must be accompanied by railings and skirting boards to prevent the fall of workers or objects.

– Attention with the spreaders: they ensure the rigidity of the scaffold and must be arranged according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Prevention when using metallic scaffold on wheels

Mobile work towers are very useful structures for carrying out maintenance or construction work at different heights. They offer a comfortable work surface with a certain load capacity, but a series of rules and preventive measures must be followed to use them safely.

Mobile work towers are very useful structures for carrying out maintenance or construction work at different heights. They offer a comfortable work surface with a certain load capacity, but a series of rules and preventive measures must be followed to use them safely.

There are certain jobs, especially in the construction and maintenance sector, that require standing at a certain height for a long period of time, and if they also require handling a relatively heavy tool or material, they are not practical, nor comfortable, but on all are not so safe, if they are done on a ladder.

For these cases, a mobile work tower must be used (to understand us: a metallic tubular scaffold on wheels). It is a provisional mobile structure that supports one or more platforms at different heights. It is mounted on four wheels -equipped with a braking system- that allow it to be moved manually around the work area as needed.

Before climbing the scaffold

Like any work at height, the tasks carried out in a mobile work tower involve a series of risks that must be identified before even stepping on the scaffold. These are the main risks and their causes that we must take into account:

Falls (at the same level or at a different level): incorrect assembly or disassembly; insufficient width of the platform; absence of railings; inadequate access (climbing outside, for example); platform not stabilized; work with the wheels unlocked; structure overload; Lack of order; bumps against objects, etc.

Falling objects: platform without skirting boards; handling excessive loads or poorly; accidental displacement of the structure, etc.

Tipping over or collapse of the structure: deformation or poor condition of the structure; incorrect assembly or disassembly (absence of diagonals, tie rods, etc.); platform overload scaffolds; unevenness or ground accidents; etc.

Once we are aware of them, it is time to take the appropriate preventive measures. First, make sure you are wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): especially a helmet, gloves, safety shoes and a harness (when necessary). Once protected individually, it is necessary to monitor the protections and collective safety regulations in the workspace. In this case of a mobile scaffold, the most important are:

  • Platforms must have a minimum width of 60 cm. and they must be made of non-slip metal sheet or grid. They must also have rails of at least 90 cm. and a skirting board of 15 cm. As minimum.
  • Portable ladders or other items should not be placed to rise above the platforms.
  • Ensure the presence of internal ladders scaffolds with a hatch to communicate platforms of different levels. Access to the platforms must be done from the inside with integrated stairs.
  • It is forbidden to carry out movements with personnel, materials or tools on the platforms.
  • They can only move on firm, level ground and free of obstacles. Wheels must be locked while working on platforms.
  • Restrict pedestrian access around the platform (delimited with railings and / or luminous or reflective elements, especially if they are near traffic lanes or vehicle passages).

Contact us today to learn more about top quality scaffolds. Here at Construction Safety Albury you will find all the information needed.