5 Safety Tips When Working with Scaffolding

Fall prevention is one of the biggest buzz words of construction safety. Fall prevention permeates so many different areas of construction, including scaffolding use and safety. Kee Safety, a global supplier of components and custom systems for railings, barriers, roof edge protection and fall prevention, recently compiled a list of five scaffolding safety tips designed to help contractors "stay proactive about scaffolding safety".

Safety Video: Falls in Construction - Fixed Scaffolds

Tip 1: Slow down or consider efficiency building alternatives

While the pace at which construction work gets finished is often important to projects and budgets, it can also influence careless and costly mistakes, including gaps in safety on the jobsite. By focusing on greater efficiency, safety does not have to be comprised, according to Kee Safety.

"You don’t have to sacrifice speed for safety, as long as you’re working at the highest level of efficiency and being safe plays its own role in this process," says Mike Mumau, president at Kee Safety - North Americ. "Invest in techniques and tools that allow for greater efficiency so that safety isn’t compromised in order to get the project done on time. Consider organization, communication and time management training to ensure efficient working methods are being used."

Tip 2: Keep your workplace organized

Avoid slip, trip and fall hazards by keeping the worksite organized. When working with scaffolding, keeping tools organized can reduce the risk of tools falling from scaffolding. It can also make moving around on the scaffolding safer for workers.

A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry

Tip 3: Identify Hazards

This should be done before work starts and while work is being done. Identify possible hazards and solutions prior to the start of work. Working near power lines? Keep scaffolding far enough away to prevent electrocution risks. Will the scaffolding need to be moved during the project? Form a game plan before each erection.

Tip 4: Proper training

As with all aspects of a construction jobsite, make sure your workers are trained and up to date with OSHA requirements. "Training in the setup and construction of scaffolding can ensure a solid work space for overhead workers and guarantee a rig that will not inadvertently collapse from instability," according to Kee Safety.

Tip 5: Review the site

In addition to identifying hazards, continue to review the worksite throughout the construction project to identify any new hazards that might arise during construction. Keeping an eye out for possible hazards can help eliminate them from happening. As work continues on, workers will become more comfortable on the job. This can cause some to inadvertently (or blatantly) neglect safety.

"Before work begins, make sure a qualified professional has checked that scaffolding or platforms have been set up correctly and include all relevant safety precautions, such as the passive or collective railing systems preferred by OSHA to protect workers at heights," Kee Safety says.