Scaffolds create a temporary work platform off the ground for construction work along the sides of buildings and other structures. Because scaffold platforms are elevated, those who work on them are always exposed to the risk of falling. Scaffolds are sometimes assembled in an unsafe manner because of haste or lack of proper supervision. This subjects workers to the extreme consequences of a scaffold collapse. Minimize these and other risks by taking the proper safety precautions in their use and construction:
- Wear a hard hat. When people are working above your head, tools, building materials, loose objects, and debris are just a few of the items that can fall your way from above.
- Use three-point contact when climbing. Whether climbing up or down on a scaffold, always have three points of contact with the ladder rungs. This means either two hands and one foot are in contact, or one hand and two feet.
- Use the proper planking. Carefully inspect planking for damage and never improvise with your planking material. Bad planks can break or otherwise fail when loaded by people and materials. In addition, make sure the scaffold is fully planked.
- Avoid overloading the scaffold. This will cause a collapse.
- Scaffolding must be supported on stable ground. Never place the scaffold feet directly on soft ground. This will cause sinking. Instead, use a sufficiently large mud sill to distribute the load. Also avoid using unstable objects such as boxes or loose bricks for this purpose.
- Use structural parts of the building as anchor points. Scaffolds are attached to the building to provide stability. These attachment points must be capable of bearing a load. For example, external piping are not safe anchor points.
- Stay clear of power lines. Keep a minimum clearance of ten feet from any overhead electrical power line. Never allow objects to protrude beyond the scaffold.
- Avoid scaffold use in bad weather. Keep your people off of scaffolding during storms, severe wind, and slippery conditions.
- Never allow scaffold assembly without proper supervision. Thoroughly inspect the structure afterwards.
- Protect the public from falling objects. Barricade the area below the scaffold and use debris nets to prevent injury to the public.
If you have suffered a construction accident, an Odessa work injury lawyer can help you get what you need for a full recovery. For more information and a free consultation, contact us at CHILDS BISHOP & WHITE P.C.