Working on scaffolding can be safe, but only if you take all the right steps. Even then, there's always the risk of an accident when you're working at height.
It doesn't matter if you use scaffolding often or every now and again, there's never a good time to neglect your safety. It only takes a minor mistake to cause a major accident that results in injury to you and/or others on the job site.
Here are five safety tips to help you prevent a scaffolding accident:
- Start with an inspection: Before you ever use scaffolding, you should inspect every last piece to ensure that it's in good working condition. Pay close attention if you recently moved the scaffolding, took it apart for any reason or had to swap out a piece.
- Know the weight load: Don't assume that your scaffolding set-up can take on as much weight as you can throw at it. The manufacturer has recommendations regarding weight, and you must know this number to never exceed it.
- Place scaffolding on stable and level ground: This is common sense, but it's easy to overlook if you need to work in a particular area. Check the ground to ensure it's level and stable before you begin to set up.
- Always use guardrails: Regardless of how much experience you have, you must always install guardrails before using scaffolding. These can be the difference between a fall to the ground below and maintaining your safety.
- Keep your work area clean: It's easy for your scaffolding set up to become cluttered as the day goes on. From tools to job site debris, there's no shortage of items that can pile up. If you notice this happening, stop what you are doing to clean the area.
If you're not used to following these scaffolding safety tips, it's time to change your ways. Doing so will give you peace of mind on the job site.
If you're involved in a scaffolding accident at work, call for immediate medical assistance. Also, if possible, immediately report the accident to your employer.
After you receive a professional diagnosis and treatment plan, you'll have a clear idea of what comes next. This may lead you to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits.