As part of our ongoing commitment to Health and Safety Szerelmey focusses on a number of key H&S topics, producing literature and site posters in 4 different languages on each. Correct use of scaffold is our current topic and pretty relevant since most construction sites include scaffold. It is not a modern invention either. Scaffolding is thought to date back to the ancient world and possibly even prehistory. Historically it was largely constructed using bamboo or wood, with the modern metal pipe scaffold not introduced until the 20th century.
While modern scaffold is likely better than its historic counterpart, it can still be an inherently dangerous thing. Building sites are unstable settings, with labour movement, materials and shifting climates. Scaffolding must be loaded correctly otherwise it can lead to injuries and/or fatal incidents.
Here are some important points on how to load it right:
- Don’t climb up or down scaffolding tubes, use ladders or stairs provided
- Make sure the ladders are at the correct angle, one unit out to four units up
- Ensure ladders are tied in at both stiles, not the rungs, and extend at least 1.1m above the working platform
- When stacking materials, always leave a passageway at least 600mm wide for other people to pass
- Ensure materials are stacked correctly and can’t fall, use brick guards or netting where required
- Don’t leave tools or materials lying about on the platform or at the bottom of ladders, always keep a tidy site with good housekeeping
- Guard-rails and toe-boards must be fitted where a person is liable to fall and must not be used for working from
- Don’t use incomplete scaffolding or areas that have not been handed over
- Don’t remove or interfere with ties, guard-rails, bracing, toe-boards or ladders. Alterations must only be made be competent persons
- Carry out a visual inspection at the start of each shift prior to use
- Report faults or defects to Supervisors/Managers, either directly or via NotifyIt immediately
If at any time something appears wrong with scaffolding on site, report it using the Notifyit app and speak to the site manager. NotifyIt is a free app available for download on Apple or Android phones designed to empower workers to play their part in making the workplace safer for everyone. The app makes it simple and quick to report near-misses and incidents and keeps a real time record of what’s reported and the actions ongoing to mitigate future risk.