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Things to remember when erecting Scaffolding

posted 19 Mar 2014, 05:58 by Unknown user   [ updated 21 Mar 2014, 05:33 ]
A Guide to the safe erection and dismantling of Scaffolding.

Erecting and dismantling scaffolds remains a high-risk activity, not only to those carrying out the work, but to other workers and the general public. The following
guide sets out steps, which need to be considered by anyone involved with such work. It is aimed not only at those directly working in the scaffolding industry but also to clients, planning supervisors and principal contractors. Set out below are a number of key issues you will need to consider to ensure scaffolding operations are undertaken safely.
1. Preparation of the Area

Like with any construction; foundations are extremely important. Constructing anything on unsound or uneven ground is bad practice and can be extremely dangerous. The ground or surface should be as level as possible, and soils should be compact and should be able to support the scaffold, in even in wet weather.

2. Ensure Safety is a priority

As well as the obvious PPE like gloves, hard-hats and goggles; you should always ensure that the structure is as safe as possible at all times, do not cut corners. Ladders should be used and furnished for every level completed, as well as handrails, toe-boards, and access gates. Failing to do so will put you and your fellow workers lives in danger.

3. Protection of the Public

When scaffolding operations are in progress the public must be excluded from both the area of work and a sufficient area around it. Steps to ensure this will include:
  • Obtaining a temporary pavement or street closure whilst operations are carried out; 
  • Undertaking operations in ‘quiet’ hours i.e. early morning, at night or at weekends;
  • Incorporating fans, crash decks and ‘tunnels’ as early as possible into a scaffold;
  • Erecting barriers and signs and diverting the public away from operations;
  • Storing scaffold clips and other loose materials are safely on the scaffold; and
  • Not raising or lowering materials over members of the public or other site workers. 
Also, consider that disabled persons need proper access along pavements covered by scaffolding.

4. Scaffolders Working at Height 

Scaffolders must follow safe systems of work to prevent people falling. In particular:

  • When lifting or lowering materials, scaffolders must be clipped on or working within a handling platform that is fully boarded, with double guardrails and toe boards. 
  • A minimum 3 board working platform together with a single guard-rail is provided as erection or dismantling works progress; 
  • Safety harnesses to be worn at all times by scaffolders and fitted with a 1.75m length lanyard and a 55mm opening scaffold hook or similar for one handed operation; 
  • Harnesses should be clipped on to a secure point where falls of 4 metres or more are possible. A secure anchorage point requires the following minimum conditions: 
  • The scaffold must be tied in to a sound structure as work progresses 
  • Attachment can be made to a ledger, transom or guardrail supported with load bearing couplers or a transom supported by ledgers in a lift above fixed at both ends by single couplers. 
  • At least one bay of a scaffold should remain boarded out as work progresses and this should be used for ladder access for the full height of the scaffold. 
  • Safe ladder access for scaffolders should be incorporated as early as possible into the erection process. 
  • Scaffolders should not be clambering up and down scaffolds without proper ladder access and safe working platforms provided on each lift being worked on.
5. Inspection of the Scaffolding

It is important that whoever is responsible for the scaffold, inspects it thoroughly before use. A daily inspection log that is signed and dated each day should be produced, including things like erosion,undermining, and other deterioration, as well as damaged braces and support. The condition of the scaffold planks, handrails, and toe boards should be closely examined, along with signs of damage or broken clamps, braces or pins.

6. Training, Supervision and Monitoring

Effective training of scaffolders is possibly the most essential factor in preventing accidents on site. In addition, do not forget the importance of monitoring the
scaffolding contractor. Clients, principal contractors, and others in control should take reasonable steps to ensure that any work being carried out on their site or
premises is undertaken safely. Simple steps to take include:
  • Checking the training levels of scaffolders and who will supervise them on site; and
  • Site monitoring of scaffolders to ensure they follow proper safety standards.
If you require training SES offer courses in:

Health & Safety Awareness

For free advice call 01279 873380 to speak to one of our Health & Safety Consultants