Working at height has always been one of the most dangerous activities on any building site. Despite the great strides taken to make this job safer for workers and the public, working at height is still the leading cause of injury and death in construction.
Working on a scaffold, often several storeys up, needs to be done with great care and attention to details. That’s why scaffolding teams are made up of experts with experience in assembling and working with all types of scaffolding. In this post, we take a look at scaffolding operatives and how work is monitored.
One of HSE’s regulations stipulates that workers should be ‘competent’ for working at height, whether it’s on a ladder or several storeys up:
“In the case of low-risk, short duration tasks involving ladders, competence requirements may be no more than making sure employees receive instruction on how to use the equipment safely (eg how to tie a ladder properly) and appropriate training. Training often takes place on the job, it does not always take place in a classroom. When a more technical level of competence is required, for example drawing up a plan for assembling a complex scaffold, existing training and certification schemes drawn up by trade associations and industry is one way to help demonstrate competence.”
If a scaffold is being used, everyone who carries out work should be aware of best practices. There are classes held all over the country that your workers can attend, teaching them about harnesses and other vital extra equipment.
Working at height is often only possible using a high-quality scaffold, built to exacting specifications. Building a scaffold requires a high level of skill and experience, something gained over years in the industry. It all begins by deciding what kind of scaffolding is actually necessary in the first place. If you use the wrong solution to your needs your workers may find it slows down the project significantly.
Another important part of scaffold work is the inspections. Once assembled, a scaffold will need to be inspected, and then inspected once a week for the duration of the project. These inspections are vital due to a variety of circumstances outside of your control.
One of the the major issues is the weather. Even short bouts of harsh weather can cause all sorts of problems for scaffolding; wind and rain have the potential to make your scaffold less safe.
Finally there’s the challenge of making sure your scaffold is safe for the public. This might include proper access control precautions, preventing any adventurous people from climbing up the scaffold outside work hours. It’s also imperative that the public are warned - and protected - from any falling objects like tools or debris.
If you want to learn more about how to protect your team when they’re working at height, or have questions about the regulations you’re required to follow, get in touch today. Our expert team will be able to explain things in detail.