Falls are among the “fatal four” — the main four causes of construction accidents. Nowhere is that more apparent than when you’re working on a scaffold.
While there’s no possible way here to cover all of the safety tips regarding scaffolds, there are a few things you should always keep in mind:
- Damaged equipment is unsafe equipment. Don’t haul your scaffolding improperly or treat it roughly when you’re tearing it down. You could end up damaging the scaffolding in unseen ways or create weak points.
- Wider work areas are safer to use. Plank the entire width of the scaffold whenever possible so that you have a larger work area and a more stable scaffold.
- Your safety equipment is always necessary. Guardrails exist for a reason, and they can keep you from slipping right over the edge of a scaffold when you’re tired.
- A three-point grip could save your life. When you climb a ladder to a scaffold, you should always have three contact points (two hands and a foot or two feet and one hand) on the scaffold. This also encourages you to lean into the scaffold, not away (which could cause the scaffold to tip over.)
- A solid foundation for your scaffold is critical. Don’t ever mount a scaffold that isn’t firmly secured on solid ground. If the ground is likely to shift, make appropriate use of wood blocks and adjustable base jacks for stability.
- It isn’t wise to climb with tools in your hands. That’s a quick way to drop something onto someone’s head if you aren’t careful (and you could go tumbling over the side trying to catch something that’s falling). Have your tools handed up to you once you’re in place.
Despite your best precautions, accidents can still happen. If you were hurt in a scaffolding accident, you may be facing a long recovery time and the possibility of permanent disabilities. Find out what legal right you have to compensation for your losses.