Home improvement projects can be a lot of fun. Not only can you save a bundle of money by doing the work yourself, but you also get to channel your creative instincts and be rewarded (hopefully!) with your finished product. One of the most important pieces of equipment that is commonly used in home improvement projects is scaffolding.
Scaffolding is used for a variety of reasons, but its primary use is to support workers and materials when working at heights. Safety is always an issue when working at heights, so naturally there are strict regulations that must be adhered to when working with scaffolding. If you’re planning a DIY project and will require the use of scaffolding, there are some very important safety facts and considerations to keep in mind.
Scaffolding can only be used up to 4m in height without a license
The first and most important consideration to remember is that if you don’t hold a high-risk work license for scaffolding, you can’t work with scaffolding where a person or materials can fall greater than 4m. The term ‘working with scaffolding’ means the erection, altering, or dismantling of scaffolding equipment. For any project that requires the use of scaffolding greater than 4m in height, you’ll need to obtain this license or you won’t be able to carry out the project yourself.
Consider hiring a professional to assemble the scaffolding
One of the biggest safety concerns with scaffolding is assembling the scaffolding and ensuring that it’s safe to support the maximum load. Generally, if you are renting scaffolding from a reputable company, they will organise for a certified professional to erect and dismantle your scaffolding equipment, along with the necessary inspections and paperwork. With this being said, always ensure that the quotes you receive for scaffolding equipment are inclusive of this service.
On the other hand, if you purchase scaffolding yourself, consider hiring a professional to assemble the scaffolding. Regardless of how experienced you are with DIY home improvement projects, scaffolding assembly is extremely important for the safety of you and those around you, so it’s highly recommended that you hire a professional to assemble and inspect your scaffolding before use. If you really want to assemble the scaffolding yourself, the best advice is to obtain your high-risk work license for scaffolding.
Check your insurance policy
Most homeowners have insurance to cover any losses that are incurred with home ownership, including liability provisions to cover you in the event that someone is injured on your property. It’s very important that you check your insurance policy to see if any injuries caused by home improvement projects are covered. Don’t blindly start your home improvement project without first checking if you are properly insured, as you may find that using scaffolding for a home improvement project will fall outside the scope of your policy.
Understand the most common causes of injuries
Unfortunately, human error is the most common cause of scaffolding injuries, so it’s crucial that you understand what you’re doing before you start your project. The vast majority of scaffolding incidents can be avoided, so do some homework and check out educational videos online or even attend training courses that will greatly assist you when working with scaffolding. Recognising the most common causes of injuries relating to working with scaffolding equipment will give you a greater understanding of the inherent risks. Therefore, the top three causes of scaffolding related injuries are:
- Scaffolding platforms or structure failing and falling over
- Falls related to incorrect scaffold assembly
- Being struck by airborne items (for those below the scaffolding structure)
Having knowledge of how scaffolding functions and operates is imperative for the safety of you and those around you, so it’s crucial that you perform adequate research before undertaking any project that involves scaffolding.
Thousands of Australians undertake home improvement projects every year using scaffolding equipment. There’s no doubt that these DIY projects are a cost-effective and rewarding alternative, however safety must always be prioritised when working at heights and the above facts and considerations must be taken into account before any work should commence. If you’re interested in hiring or purchasing scaffolding equipment for your next project, get in touch with the professionals at Uni-Span by phoning 1300 822 825.