Take Steps to Prevent Scaffolding Accidents on Construction Sites

Posted on March 27, 2013

Construction sites can be some of the riskiest workplaces around, but they don’t have to be.  Employees and employers can work together to ensure that some of the most common safety threats are mitigated or eliminated entirely.  This is especially true with sites that require scaffolding.  Although the threat of a fall is always apparent, a new report explains the steps one can take to reduce this danger drastically.

For one thing, everyone who works on scaffolding should be required by employers to submit to rigorous training that meets the requirements set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  When employers don’t offer or don’t insist that employees are properly instructed, accidents happen.  The right training can ensure that a worker is well-versed in the proper safety procedures for the project from set-up to take-down.  The signs of instability will be more readily identifiable and workers can take pains to put together a scaffold that isn’t in danger of collapsing.

Understanding those aforementioned signals that instability and an ensuing collapse are about to take place is essential, but those aren’t the only threats that might be applicable.  If work is taking place in the vicinity of power lines, workers should position the scaffold a safe distance away so that the danger of electrocution is eliminated.  At times when a scaffold has to be repositioned to ensure project completion, workers should have a blueprint they can follow that allows the equipment to be transported safely.

All of these procedures should be reviewed on a consistent basis.  You never know when a new hazard is going to present itself or a worker could be exposed to an obstacle that went overlooked.  Safety can’t just be a consideration at the start of a project, as it’s typically when workers begin to grow accustomed to their surroundings that an accident happens.

The equipment used and the way workers use it also play a key factor in safety.  Railings and various other systems should be put up in a way that encourages safe working behavior.  And although a job site certainly needs to run smoothly, speed should never come at the cost of a worker’s wellbeing.  Careful planning at a project’s outset discourages a potentially unsafe timetable.  Workers shouldn’t be asked to act beyond the bounds of what they’re comfortable with, as doing so creates an environment wherein pressure is placed on employees to constantly push themselves past the limits of safety.

Finally, keep a careful account of where everything is on a worksite.  Eliminate fall hazards by placing tools in their rightful place when not in use, and have workers constantly check their environment to make sure a coworker’s simple mistake doesn’t create a tragedy.

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