In our last post, we explored the starting points of all good scaffolding safety: weather awareness, all the correct safety gear, and ensuring the construction of scaffolding structures follows all of the right rules and regulations - as outlined by the UK government. In this post, we dive into more of the ins and outs of scaffolding safety in the UK. Let’s dive in.
First and foremost, scaffolding teams that are protected by safe practices must always be under the watch of a well-trained, licensed, and experienced supervisor. Supervisors must be there at all times to ensure that the work undertaken by workers matches their skill set and experience.
Supervisors can also make sure that workers are each falling in line with correct safety procedures as they go about their work. For example, supervisors can make sure that scaffolders on site are wearing the correct safety equipment, such as hard hats and workman boots.
Safe use of scaffolding requires that scaffolding workers are always adequately trained, and have the qualifications to back this up. How can scaffolding training help protect scaffolders at work? First and foremost, training will show scaffolders which types of scaffolding, as well as the height of the scaffolding, is required in each situation.
In addition, scaffolding training can help scaffolders identify potential safety hazards on site - for example, such as guidance on what to do if they injure themselves through a fall. Moreover, as the field is in a state of constant evolution and flux, and new forms of scaffolding are used - as well as new safety hazards arise - scaffolders must continually undergo professional training and make sure their license and knowledge up to date in this vital area.
Scaffolding safety relies on teamwork. Scaffolding is not a lone man (or woman’s) job, scaffolders work in a team to ensure the job gets done. As such, scaffolding workers themselves can rely on the eyes of each other to look out for any safety hazards. Team members can advise and inform other members of the group if they see that they may be at potential risk - such as if they see another team member using equipment incorrectly.
In addition, scaffolding safety is not just about what you should do - it’s also about what you need to be mindful of never doing. Scaffolders should always inspect scaffolds - before any work to make sure that the scaffold has not been damaged. For example, following some stormy weather, scaffolds may be damaged and planks or other items may be damaged. As such, workers should make sure that this is not the case before they begin their work.