Those that work in the construction industry will recognise the inherent risks and dangers of going to work every day. Workplace Health & Safety is a vital aspect to the work performed on construction sites, and these guidelines must be strictly followed to ensure the safety of each worker and those around them. One of the most hazardous jobs that construction workers can engage in is working from heights, and this is generally undertaken on scaffolding equipment.
Scaffolding is a temporary structure that is erected to support workers and materials when undertaking the construction or maintenance and repairs of buildings and other structures. When scaffoldis damaged or otherwise unsafe to use, it has the potential to result in serious injuries to both workers using the scaffolding and the workers below the scaffolding. Although human error is the leading cause of injuries on scaffold equipment, it is the responsibility of the contractors to provide safe and robust scaffolding to workers when operating at heights.
When scaffoldequipment is damaged, it poses great risks and leave workers vulnerable to serious injury. To give you some insight into some of the risks in using scaffolding, today we’ll be discussing the main causes of damaged scaffolding.
Like any equipment, scaffolding is subject to general deterioration throughout its lifespan. Considering that scaffolding is a multi-level work platform that is regularly used by workers, there will be general wear and tear of the equipment due workers climbing the equipment and working on the platforms. In addition to this, when scaffolding is transported, it has a tendency to rub against each other so work-piece piling practices should always be used.
Being exposed to the elements, scaffolding also has a tendency to get damaged from severe weather conditions. The heat, cold, and rain will naturally cause damage to scaffolding over time, such as rusting and other imperfections resulting from quick temperature changes. There’s not much that can be done about the weather, however proper maintenance of scaffolding equipment should be performed regularly to ensure it remains in good working condition.
Improper scaffold erection
There are many aspects to consider when erecting scaffolding, which is why WHS Laws state that only qualified professionals with the necessary accreditation can do so. Some of the aspects that must be considered are built-in fasteners, stabilising mechanisms, and tower-to-structure support lines. Improper scaffold erection can not only lead to damaged equipment, but other more serious issues like falling towers. Qualified professionals can also advise on the proper storage and use of scaffolding, along with establishing the correct working at height protocols.
A leading cause to damaged scaffolding equipment is not adhering to the appropriate loading capacities. The load-supporting frames need to be able to support workers, tools,and materials when working from heights, so overloading can seriously damage these frames and platforms and result in unsafe equipment. It is the responsibility of both the contractors and workers to respect the loading capacities of scaffold equipment.
Lack of established protocols
Naturally, there are a multitude of protocols that must be adhered to when working from heights. Workers must adhere to these protocols not only to ensure the safety of themselves, but also the safety of those around them. Keeping scaffold platforms organised and free from rubbish and scattered tools is imperative and failing to adhere to these protocols can result in injuries and damaged equipment.
Scaffold equipment is an investment which should be properly maintained and inspected on a regular basis not only to ensure the safety of workers, but also to maximise the lifespan of the equipment. Adhering to established protocols, employing qualified and accredited professionals, and ensuring workers are sufficiently trained in the use of scaffold equipment is paramount.
If you have any further questions about the proper maintenance and use of scaffolding equipment, get in touch with the professionals at Uni-Span by phoning 1300 882 826.