Scaffolding Risks and Controls
Scaffolding is an essential part of construction work that allows workers to perform their duties at heights and access hard-to-reach areas. However, it can be hazardous if not installed and maintained correctly. This Risk and controls Guide will provide guidance to workers on how to use scaffolding safely and prevent accidents or injuries.
Hazards and Risks
Falling from height – This is the most common hazard associated with scaffolding. Workers can fall from heights and sustain injuries or even die.
Collapse of scaffolding – Scaffolding can collapse due to overloading, poor design, or improper erection.
Falling objects – Materials or tools can fall from scaffolding and injure workers or pedestrians below.
Electrical hazards – Workers using scaffolding near overhead power lines are at risk of electrocution.
Weather conditions – High winds, rain, and snow can affect the stability of the scaffolding and increase the risk of falls.
Controls and Measures
Planning and Preparation – Before scaffolding is erected, a qualified person should conduct a risk assessment, prepare a SWMS, and ensure that the scaffolding design and installation comply with industry standards and regulations.
Training and Competency – Workers using scaffolding should have adequate training, knowledge, and experience to perform the job safely. They should also be familiar with the SWMS and emergency procedures.
Inspection and Maintenance – Scaffolding should be inspected before each use, and any defects should be rectified before work commences. Regular maintenance should be carried out to ensure the scaffold remains safe and secure.
Fall Protection – Workers should wear fall protection equipment such as a harness and lanyard when working at heights. Guardrails or safety nets should be installed around the scaffolding to prevent falls.
Exclusion Zones – A designated exclusion zone should be established around the scaffolding to prevent unauthorized access by workers or the public.
Weather Monitoring – Weather conditions should be monitored regularly, and work should be stopped if high winds, heavy rain, or snow are forecasted.
Electrical Safety – Workers should maintain a safe distance from overhead power lines and should not touch any electrical equipment while on the scaffold.
Material Handling – All materials and tools should be secured on the scaffold to prevent them from falling and injuring workers or pedestrians below.
Emergency Procedures – Workers should know the emergency procedures, including how to evacuate the scaffold safely in case of an emergency.
Scaffolding can be a hazardous work activity, and it is essential to follow the controls and measures outlined in this Risk and Controls article.
By planning and preparing, providing training and competency, inspecting and maintaining the scaffold, using fall protection, establishing exclusion zones, monitoring weather conditions, maintaining electrical safety, handling materials safely, and knowing the emergency procedures, workers can use scaffolding safely and prevent accidents or injuries.