Safety Tips Construction Fall protection Personal protective equipment

Hazard alert: Scaffolding

Photo: peuceta/iStockphoto

Building scaffolding for work projects can present numerous serious hazards to employees. According to OSHA, injuries related to scaffolds include falls, tip-overs, being struck by falling equipment, and coming into contact with energized power lines.

To best stay safe while building and using scaffolding, OSHA recommends a variety of tips:

  • Always use footings that are level, rigid and able to support loads without settling or moving.
  • Securely plumb and brace equipment to help prevent swaying and dislodgment.
  • Plumb and level the scaffold as you go.
  • Ensure all connections and couplers are securely fastened before moving on in the assembly process.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when installing ties and braces.
  • Refrain from mixing scaffolding components from different manufacturers unless you’re sure you can do so safely.
  • Place toeboards on railed sides to help prevent objects from falling.

When working on a scaffold:

  • Have a competent person inspect the scaffold before every shift.
  • Check to make sure it’s safe to use. If it is marked with red tags, it’s unsafe. Never use an unsafe scaffold until repairs are made.
  • Do not overload a scaffold beyond its maximum load capacity. Never use buckets, blocks or ladders in an attempt to create more working height on the platform.
  • Don’t work on a scaffold if it is snowy, icy or slippery.