A scaffold is an elevated working platform that can assist with many construction and industrial tasks. Allowing access at different heights, scaffolds come in many designs and weight capabilities to provide stable working surfaces for workers. Scaffolding types can be unique and come with diverse components, so being properly aware of how your scaffold works is important to ensure efficient, safe and effective operation.
The task of erecting a scaffold should generally involve a workplace discussion about risk management and the safest possible handling and dismantling of the structure. An established scaffolding company can assist with the best way to erect and operate your scaffold, as well as adequately training workers for future use.
Here are some tips to ensure you’re erecting and using your scaffold as safely as possible.
Risk management is instrumental for any construction site. Maintaining thoroughness and attention to detail in your risk management is the easiest way to protect your workers and keep them from being harmed or injured, as well as keeping your scaffolding intact. When operating scaffolds, be sure to check off this list:
- Ensure a safe working area for your workers and check the environment’s conditions.
- Identify potential hazards or likely risks and, most importantly, establish an emergency system to control risks if they occur.
- Refer to the manual consistently and ensure you know everything about the scaffolding and its requirements.
- Inspect the scaffolding before using it in your operations.
- Maintain contact with a professional scaffolding company for training and licenses.
Erecting a Scaffold
When it comes to erecting scaffolding, the operator must be qualified to do so. Any worker undertaking scaffolding work and handling must hold the licences required by the Work Health & Safety regulations. Many construction companies will establish an ongoing relationship with a scaffolding company that can offer competency training to their workers. Through this training, workers will be able to learn the safest ways to erect, dismantle and alter the scaffold. These training units provide your employees with insight into the correct scaffolding processes and operations.
During scaffold erection, remember:
- Ensure components are working and scaffolding fittings are securely tightened prior to erection.
- Soleboards and baseplates should be used to evenly distribute the load and will assist with the overall scaffold stability. Alternative measures should be taken when working on uneven surfaces.
- In combination with the instruction manual and a professional scaffolding company, develop and follow a system for scaffold erection and constantly refer back to it.
- Never overload scaffold bays during the erection, and only attach components like ropes, buttresses or bracing as the scaffold is being erected.
Once your workers have passed competency training and have obtained the correct licenses, it could be worthwhile to develop a step-by-step scaffold erection guide with an experienced scaffolding company. Systems like these are the best way to ensure safety in all operations, as a professional in the field will be able to advise you on the different things you need to consider in terms of your scaffolding.