Safety Tips Construction Fall protection Injury prevention

Stay safe on scaffolds

Photo: welcomia/iStockphoto

Violations of OSHA’s scaffolding standard (1926.451) are a mainstay on the agency’s annual Top 10 list of most cited standards, ranking fourth in fiscal year 2020 and third in FY 2019. According to a “Toolbox Talk” on scaffolding safety released by OSHA as part of its National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, scheduled for May 3-7, “Hardly a workday goes by without a construction worker falling off a scaffold to his death. These deaths can be prevented.”

Here’s how:

  • Make sure scaffolds are inspected daily. Check the guardrails, connectors, fastenings, footings, tie-ins, bracing and planking. Remove any damaged scaffolds from service immediately.
  • Don’t climb cross-bracing.
  • Never stockpile materials on scaffolds. Remove all tools and leftover materials at the end of the day.
  • Don’t overload scaffolds. Pile necessary materials over ledger and bearer points.
  • Ensure the area near the scaffold is free of debris, unneeded equipment or material, and any other slip, trip or fall hazards.
  • Climb the access ladders provided with each scaffold. Don’t climb off the end frames.
  • Use a rolling scaffold only on level surfaces, and lock caster brakes when the scaffold isn’t in motion. Make certain the route is clear of holes and overhead obstructions when you’re moving it, and secure all loose materials.
  • Use personal fall protection equipment tied off to an anchorage point from a lanyard, lifeline and/or deceleration device.

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