A frequent idea and piece of equipment in the building industry is scaffolding. But it comes with a lot of dangers, risks, and safety worries.
The construction industry is full of risks because it involves working at heights. Therefore, the accidents mostly involve workers falling from heights. This means the use of scaffolding involves hazards and safety concerns that need to be addressed properly before using this construction tool.
What is Scaffolding?
The word ‘scaffolding’ originated from the Latin word ‘scapula’, which means a stage or platform.
If we talk in terms of definition, then a scaffold is a simple but sturdy and strong structure or working platform that is used in construction, maintenance, or repair work to provide support to the laborers working at heights.
It is used to provide workers with easy access to difficult-to-reach points. Moreover, it can also be used for easily transporting material during construction.
It is mostly made of steel, wood, or metal. It contains platforms to support the overall structure or framework. The framework is either fixed to the building or it can stand on its own. It can also be made in a customized way so that it can be moved or adjusted accordingly.
Hazards of Scaffolding
There are various types of scaffolding in Norwich and different hazards and risks are associated with them. Some of the most common hazards are described below.
1. Risks During Dismantling and Installation
One of the most common hazards can occur during the installation and dismantling processes.
Sometimes, proper space is not provided for the worker to lift and place the scaffolds. Similarly, if the tie-ins are not installed properly, the whole platform will be in a swaying state, and the risk of falling will increase.
Enough free space should be provided while the dismantling process is going on so that there is space to set aside the scaffolds and the workers can easily work without getting hurt.
2. No Guardrails
Common safety regulations for buildings state that guardrails should be used to protect any structure that is higher than 5 feet tall. However, the majority of individuals do not view this as a safety issue, which leads to falls and serious accidents.
As a result, operating at a height without a guardrail presents a major safety risk that should not be disregarded. To avoid accidents, injuries, and other problems, appropriate safety precautions should be followed.
3. Electrical Wires
This is another very serious safety hazard while working at heights. Electrical wires are at certain heights, but when workers are working in a high building, the chances are clear that the electrical wires will hinder them while they work.
In order to prevent accidents, it is important to analyze the area properly for such issues. While attempting to keep a safe distance from the electrical wires, employees occasionally slip and fall. Therefore, before installation, it’s crucial to consider the distance between the cables and the platform.
4. Overloading on the Platform
As the platform is made to support the workers in reaching faraway points and transporting the material during work, sometimes it happens that workers try to move more material at once. This results in the overloading of the platform, and the chances of falling off the platform increase.
The platform itself can tip and slide along with the workers and the material. This can cause serious accidents; therefore; workers should be made aware in advance that they should never overload the platform in order to prevent unforeseen circumstances.
Safety Control Measures
To avoid any safety hazards during work, safety control measures have to be observed. Some of these measures are described below.
1. Select the Right Type
There are different types of scaffolding that are designed according to the requirements of work to be done, height, weight capacity, etc. Therefore, it is crucial that you select the appropriate type of scaffolding based on the demands of your work.
Before selecting which sort of scaffolding will be effective for achieving the intended objectives and carrying out certain activities, the contractor typically takes a careful look at the working site.
2. Install Properly
One of the most obvious reasons for accidents and injuries while working at heights is the improper installation of the working platform.
Therefore, the safety measure suggests that the manufacturer’s instructions for installation should be exactly followed in order to avoid serious conditions. Also, make sure that all parts are properly attached and securely fitted. Pay attention to every detail to prevent any loopholes.
3. Install Guardrails
As mentioned above, the absence of guardrails around the scaffolds is one of the most common reasons for accidents and hazards at work. Therefore, it is important that you install guardrails around the working platform where workers have to work at heights. This helps prevent falls and also helps to protect the materials from falling while transported from one place to another during construction at height.
4. Proper Dismantling
Just like proper installation is important, proper and careful dismantling is also important in order to avoid on-site accidents.
The manufacturer provides instructions for dismantling that should always be followed.
Moreover, if the scaffold is there for a longer period of time, then the parts get rusted in most cases, and in that case, the dismantling should be done more carefully. The workers should follow instructions and take care of the safety measures in order to prevent hazards.
5. Do Not Overload
This is a very common safety measure, but still, many workers and contractors do not take care of it. Overloading can result in fatal accidents and even falling off the whole working platform. Therefore, it is suggested that weight limits should always be observed while working at heights.
It is crucial that all employees receive comprehensive training regarding the risks they face and the necessary safety precautions. Additionally, workers should be given personal protection equipment in order to provide a secure working environment.