OSHA Details Ways to Keep Workers Safe on Scaffolds

Posted on July 29, 2013

A new report outlines the ways that employers can ensure their workers are protected from the various threats posed by scaffolds and the immediate environment of such.  It provides guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that should help ensure that standards are met and workers aren’t unduly endangered.

First, the stability of the scaffold must be assured.  This begins by ensuring that the unit itself is placed on a stable surface that won’t create unnecessary shaking or outright collapse.  The only thing that should increase height is the scaffold itself; workers shouldn’t be encouraged to gain extra height by using other standing surfaces like ladders or barrels.  Planks should be placed across the levels without gaps that workers could fall into, and any damage that accumulates ought to prompt immediate replacement before workers are allowed to climb anew.

Workers should also be instructed as to some of the environmental hazards that need to be avoided.  No scaffold should come within ten feet of power lines nor be burdened with more weight than the structure is capable of holding.  There should also be rules to govern when work should be abandoned.  If the wind kicks up to a sufficient degree or the weather begins to take a turn for the worse, work should be delayed until it’s safe to climb.  By the same token, standing water or snow should lead to a similar delay in work.

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