Construction Fall protection Injury prevention

Use scaffolding safely

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Photo: sturti/iStockphoto

Rounding out the top five on OSHA’s Top 10 list of most cited violations for fiscal year 2022 is scaffolding (1926.451), with 2,285 violations. Violations of this standard are a mainstay on the list year after year.

Use these tips from the Texas Department of Insurance to help your workers safely use scaffolding:
Use proper safety equipment. Is your employee working on a scaffold more than 10 feet off the ground? If so, they need to use personal fall arrest systems or guardrails. “Employees on single-point and two-point adjustable scaffolds must be protected using guardrails and personal fall arrest systems.” Also: “Many scaffold-related injuries involve falling objects or slips. Wear a hard hat and nonslip footwear to prevent serious injuries.”
Be aware of load limits. Scaffolds need to support four times the maximum intended load without failure, OSHA says.
Build properly. First, make sure workers are following the manufacturer’s instructions when constructing the scaffold. Then, they should avoid power lines by leaving at least 10 feet of clearance between electrical hazards and the construction. Next, a competent person must supervise the building, moving and dismantling of scaffolding, as well as inspect it before each shift and when work is done.
Keep the area organized and clear. Clutter can lead to trips and falls or cause hazards for workers on lower levels, so workers need to keep their tools and equipment organized and put away after they’re done using it.
Train all employees. Workers who use scaffolds should be trained to recognize, control and reduce hazards. Your training should include proper setup, use and handling of materials – “taking into account the intended load and type of scaffold used.”

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