How to properly inspect scaffolding for safety?
Scaffolding is a temporary structure used in construction sites to support workers and materials. Scaffolding accidents account for 72% of all construction industry fatalities, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Therefore, anyone working with or around scaffolding must understand how to inspect it properly for safety.
- Check the Base- The base of the scaffold needs to be checked first as this is where most accidents occur. Make sure that the scaffold’s feet are on solid ground and level. They are not on soft ground or uneven surfaces as this will cause instability. Also, check there are no obstructions such as debris or rocks under the scaffold’s feet.
- Look at the Structure- Once you have checked the base, look at the overall structure of the scaffold. Ensure that all braces, frames, and guardrails are secure and in place. Inspect all components of each section separately before assembling them.
- Assess Stability- Check all components fit together correctly without gaps or spaces between them; this ensures stability when workers use it. The maximum allowable gap between two planks should not exceed 1 inch unless there is a platform underneath them.
- Check Weight Capacity- Ensure weight capacity requirements have been met by checking load ratings posted on each section of scaffolding before using them. Never exceed these limits as they were set with safety in mind.
- Examine Bracing Components- Inspect bracing components such as cross braces, diagonal braces, horizontal braces, etc., making sure they’re firmly attached to uprights at both ends without any slackness or missing parts.
- Evaluate Guardrail Systems- Guardrail systems must be securely installed along open sides and ends of platforms above ten feet high from lower levels Safety in Construction double guardrails should be installed anytime people work near an unguarded edge unless fall protection equipment such as harnesses are being used.
- Review Planking Condition – Check planking conditions thoroughly before using them because broken boards lead to serious injuries when workers fall through gaps between planks which could result from improper installation methods or rotting due to exposure over time in harsh conditions such as rainwater damage caused by storms.
Safety should always come first when working with scaffolds because one mistake could mean life-changing consequences for everyone involved. If someone else was responsible for their fall injury meaning workplace safety remains of paramount importance across job sites worldwide. Always remember these seven steps while inspecting your scaffold before use so everyone goes home safe from work every day.