Depending on the make, model and application of a scaffold, there will be varying degrees of caution necessary to use these items on a worksite.
Some will be entirely user-friendly with a direct mode of erecting and dismantling before the project is complete.
Others offer a myriad of challenges, acquiring a great amount of space as specialists enter and exit at their own discretion.
So how do individuals determine whether or not they are fit for purpose? What should they be looking out for on the day?
This will be our point of focus as we detail how a safe scaffold is designated.
Scaffold structures will bend, buckle and break when they exceed their weight-loading limit. Of all of the potential measures that should be embraced when utilising these designs is to ensure that no platform exceeds these listed limitations. Operators must be briefed about their ceiling ahead of time, but even after this education they have to be clearly identified to remove any doubt and serve as a continual reminder. Professionals suffer injuries and die when there is too much weight placed on these fragile structures and the responsibility to be diligent and careful lies with all participants.
The suitability for a scaffold design can be enough of a factor to transition an unsafe item to a safe one. For those operations that have to maneuver between positions on multiple occasions, a Kwikstage system or a single/double scaffolding could be ideal. These items can be effortlessly assembled and switched from one area to the next without too much hassle. Then there are long-term options that require a lower rate of erection and dismantling, ranging from the sturdy Cantilever design to the patented and suspended creations that are ideal for repairing and replacing on a worksite. The key measure in this instance is to provide the right brand for the right type of job.
When there are potential hazards present around the environment, then the integrity of the scaffold can come into question. This can include severe weather conditions featuring high winds, heavy rain and even stifling heat to unstable turf and the presence of power lines, trees and motor vehicles in close proximity. Each of these elements have to be factored into the project given the risks that can be associated with oversight.
It is easy to overlook the fact that the safety of the scaffold has often little to do with the structure itself but more about the people who are using it. Operators have to be trained and certified in order to ensure they adhere to the appropriate practices, can identify hazards when they present themselves and understand what restrictions and limitations are placed on the item. From a distance they might appear to be relatively straightforward products to utilise on a worksite, but it takes years of experience to fully appreciate the intricacies of the application. If there is even one member who does not have the right level of training and certification, the safety of others is placed in jeopardy.
Independent inspections for a professional scaffold structure should be mandatory, but there are certain instances whereby they are erected and dismantled where there is no supervision present. Builders, developers and construction workers who test their own items are fallible. This is not because they don’t have the requisite skills or expertise, but because they can be under undue pressure to complete a project within a limited timeframe. When that is the case – who needs to be bogged down with scaffolding logistics? Each item must be checked and approved beforehand.