The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that 65 percent of the construction industry frequently works on scaffolds. However, when scaffolds are not used properly, falls can occur. Statistics from the Center for Construction Research and Training state that there are about 4,500 injuries per year involving scaffolds. A fall from a height of just four feet can cause serious injury or even death. OSHA recommends that you plan ahead to make sure that you are provided with the right equipment, that everyone is trained to use the equipment correctly and that the job is done safely. Here are some additional tips that you can use to protect yourself and others:
- A competent person is required to inspect the scaffold before each shift. Don’t use the scaffold before the competent person has inspected it.
- Ensure that you have received training on working on a scaffold. After training, you should be able to recognize any hazards associated with working on a scaffold. If you have any questions about this, talk to your supervisor.
- OSHA requires fall protection when working on a scaffold more than 10 feet above the ground. Fall protection can be in the form of a guardrail and/or personal fall arrest system (PFAS), depending on the type of scaffolding.
- Always wear a hard hat when working on or under a scaffold. This is necessary not only to protect your head in case of a fall, but also against falling debris.
- Make certain that you can access the scaffolding safely with the use of a ladder, stair tower or ramp.
- Get off the scaffolding and alert a supervisor immediately if the scaffolding appears to be unsecured. A wobbly scaffold can make for a nasty fall.
- Clear all debris and unnecessary materials from the scaffold to prevent trip hazards.
- Ensure that the working platforms on your scaffold are fully planked and that the planks are in good working condition without any weathering, holes or knots.
- Safeguard yourself and check with the competent person to make sure that the scaffold is able to support four times the maximum intended load.
- Don’t work on a scaffold in wet weather or slippery conditions.
- Be sure to wear sturdy shoes with non-slip soles when working on a scaffold.
Don’t take any unnecessary chances when working on scaffolds. Protect yourself and those around you by becoming informed. Visit OSHA’s website and use their eTool for more information about scaffolding use and safety.
Small to mid-size employers use Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) such as LCR Resource, Inc. to assist them in keeping a safe work place. PEO’s can assist in training staff through toolbox talks and establish safety practices to eliminate potential risk factors. Give us a call to find out more (915) 701-2325
Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company