Scaffolding is the temporary structure that provides the platform for both workers and builders while the building in construction is still in process. It allows the users and workers to have a standing and carry out their work alongside others. A scaffolding also serves as a platform for safe and secure access to all the parts of a worksite. Therefore, it is often raised to the desired height so that workers stand on them to work. Meanwhile, a scaffolding structure is fundamental with a risk of falls that may cause injury or death.
Amidst everything you need to learn about scaffolding and its installation, application and establishment, this article tells some of the most crucial information about scaffolding that makes it sit for its most fundamental use on construction sites. Let us begin with some of the associated risks with scaffolding. You can learn about How to use Suspended Scaffolding in Sydney by clicking here.
Identifying scaffolding hazards
Below are some of the examples of the associated hazards with the use of scaffolding on construction sites
- Worker falling from a height
- A falling object from a height
- Scaffolding collapse can happen before, during or after the installation of the scaffold.
- Working near (within a 4 m radius) an overhead power cable or electric line
- Worksite traffic, including the use of mobile plant
- Component mixture using different scaffold systems. For instance, do not mix steel tubing with aluminium tubing
- Manual tasks
- Working over water
- Collision with tackles or lifting objects
Assessing scaffolding risks
How do we assess these risks associated with the scaffolding structures? Hence, let us consider the following matters.
- Watch out for the choice of scaffold type.
- The height of the scaffold to be erected is also an important one
- Scaffolding work schedule
- The layout of the worksite, such as nearness to the public area
- The surface of the scaffold position on the ground, and the structural integrity of its surface can support the load on the scaffold
- Number of people that will be using the scaffold
- The materials and safety equipment that is in use according to the acceptable approval
- The right equipment and plant that apply to the scaffold or near
- Plan for rescue if the scaffold fails
- The local weather conditions for the wind forces
- Damage to the adjacent structures or equipment
- The skills, techniques, and competencies required to raise use manage, maintain, change and dismantle the scaffold.
- Exposures such as noise or ultraviolet (UV) radiation may occur
Measures to facilitate the scaffolding
- It would be best if you chose the most suitable scaffold type to do the work.
- Also, you can minimize the working heights for those setting up and dismantling the scaffolds.
- The scaffolding set up area should be protected and barricaded
- Along with the scaffolding structure, you need to install containment sheeting, fall risk controls and edge protection such as guardrails, mid-rails and toe boards.
Examples of Risk control in Scaffolding Work in Sydney
In setting up a scaffold for a company, there are expected requirements that can make it worthwhile. Not only so, but it must also align with the structure and installation procedure that aligns with the Australian standard of scaffold use. By implication, the use of the scaffold or the managers of the project at the worksite must ensure that.
- A qualified and competent person must adequately inspect the scaffold and all the associated structures. For example, a scaffold inspector may check the quality and fitness of the scaffold.
- In line with the approval process of the scaffold, the scaffolding inspector must issue a written approval and confirmation on the use of the scaffold.
- On the other hand, if the inspector concludes that the scaffold or its associated structure is unsuitable or considered unsafe for use, the recommended repairs, alterations and additions are made accordingly. After the changes are made, another competent scaffolding inspector can redo the inspection before resuming the use of the scaffold.
- Unauthorized access to scaffold use can also be prevented with incomplete or unattended scaffolding structures.
How to safely dismantle a scaffolding structure
The scaffolding must also come with extraordinary protective measures, which comes with optimum access. So, when the time for dismantling the scaffolding comes, it must follow the correct order to prevent hazards and all sorts of damage.
- The platform should be at least 450 mm in width, which also involves the height of its dismantling wherever it is practicable.
- Maintain the platform’s position directly below the level the worker is standing on before starting to dismantle the scaffold. At the same time, it comprises a complete set of planks across its width and should not be lesser than 2 m
- You may also leave a portion of the scaffold open, especially when no platform is in place yet. Meanwhile, this step allows a lowering of planks with the other scaffolding components in between levels.
- While bringing down the scaffolding components, ensure that you take care of the manner of the dismantling to avoid any damage, harm or injury.
Maintenance of Scaffolds
There are control measures or steps to take to minimize or utterly eliminate health and safety risks. Below are some of the essential ones.
- Consulting the professional scaffold designer before making any adjustment to the design of the scaffold
- Any alteration to the scaffold design must still be under the standard scaffolding procedure or the approved invention and plan.
- The scaffold’s structural integrity is holy, and therefore, there is no room for any alterations that can compromise that high level of quality.
- There should be standard systems in place, such as regular inspections every seven days to identify any unauthorized interference with the structure and position of the scaffold.
- If a scaffold is out of use for more than seven days, it should be checked thoroughly before being used again. The checking requires a competent and qualified scaffolding inspector.
- If a scaffold has not been used for over one month, the structure should be dismantled quickly, not to be used as erected.