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10 Health & Safety Tips For Scaffolding Use
Companies using scaffolding need to make sure that they know what they’re doing in terms of health and safety, or they could be putting their employees’ lives – and their own livelihoods – at risk. The law requires inspection of scaffolding if a person could potentially fall two or more metres, with a report issued by a competent person on completion or at least weekly thereafter, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Once you’ve done your risk assessment, you may find that your scaffolding needs to be inspected more frequently. Inspections should also always be carried out after any changes made to the scaffolding, as well as after bad weather. Consider implementing a tag system to help support these inspections and the finalised reports, so that anyone who uses the scaffold knows that it has been looked at and is considered safe to use.
Under the Work at Height Regulations 2005 Act, scaffolds must be designed, put up, altered and taken down only by a competent person, with the work carried out under the supervision of a competent site manager. At the start of any job that requires the use of scaffold, the team using it should supply their contractor with relevant information to ensure that the design process is followed properly and accurately.
Information to include should be site location, intended use, the number of boarded lifts, the period of time the scaffold will be in place for, maximum working loads, the maximum number of people using the scaffold at any given time, the height, length and other critical dimensions that could affect the scaffold, restrictions that could affect the erection and dismantling process, the nature of the ground conditions, requirements for sheeting, netting and brickguards, and so on.
All members of staff should be competent for the kind of scaffolding work they’re doing and should have been given the appropriate training to support this. Appropriate levels of supervision must also be ensured by employers, based on the complexity of the work involved. Always ensure that each scaffold gang contains a competent scaffolder who has been trained for the complexity of the scaffold due to be put up, altered or taken down.
To give you an idea of the importance of ensuring you follow the relevant health and safety guidelines for working at height, a construction company has just been fined £105,000 after a worker was left paralysed following a fall from a section of decking while moving scaffolding components.
An HSE investigation found that the metal deck sheets on the first level of the building hadn’t been secured correctly, while access to the decking wasn’t properly controlled – so non-decking employees were allowed onto the deck.
The worker in question suffered injuries to his spinal cord and, as a result, is now paralysed from the neck down.
For East Yorkshire scaffolding, give Burflex a call today.