The majority of scaffold accidents on the construction site are caused by falls, slipping or being struck by an object from above. All of these accidents can be prevented by taking the proper precautions. Here’s how.
General Safety Tips
- To prevent slipping hazards, conduct a daily routine inspection to ensure that all walking and working surfaces are free from potential hazards. If you spot a hazard, remove it.
- Never move, dismantle or alter a scaffold unless under the supervision of a qualified person while doing such activities.
- Never move a scaffold with workers still on it.
- Keep scaffold loads below maximum capacity and remove your equipment when the scaffold is not in use.
- Be alert for bad weather. High winds and driving rain and snow can be dangerous when working at high levels.
Protection for Those Below
- Always hoist up heavy tools, equipment and supplies, rather than carrying them up by hand.
- Use a toe board to prevent things falling off a scaffold. If items on the scaffold are taller than the toe board, other systems, like debris nets, must be used to catch falling tools or materials.
- Always wear a hard hat when working on and around a scaffold.
- Never walk under or near the scaffold if roped off when work is being performed above.
Fall Protection Basics
To help protect you against potentially deadly falls, fall protection is needed when working at two metres or more above a lower level, and consists of either a personal fall-arrest system or guardrail systems, depending on the job. If using a fall-arrest system, keep the following in mind:
- Always attach your lanyard to a vertical lifeline, horizontal lifeline or scaffold structural member.
- If you are using a vertical lifeline, make sure that you are fastened to a fixed safe point of anchorage, independent of the scaffold. This includes structural members of buildings, but not standpipes, vents, electrical conduit, etc. They may give way under the force of a fall.
- Clean and test your gear regularly and never tamper with your fall-protection system.
When working on scaffolding, your safety is our top priority. Make it yours, too!