A scaffold is a temporary platform built to support access and working of construction employees at a site for repair, maintenance or building construction. Scaffolds are used at construction site as a support to go up and down with the help of ladders so workers have a safe, stable work platform when work is not at ground level. Because of safety reasons, scaffolding is taken under Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act.
Every scaffold towers have their recommended safe workload as different ladders are allowed to have, so be careful not to exceed the recommended workload. Taking more people, equipment, or material onto the ladder than it's explicitly designed to support can open you to severe safety risk so the scaffold towers must be managed to avoid it.
The hazards and factors affecting the working at height include the vertical distance of a fall, fragile roofs, roof lights, voids, sloping roofs, deteriorating materials, unprotected edges, unstable or poorly maintained access equipment, and adverse weather conditions.
There are the following steps that help workers to be safe while working on the scaffold:
• The first step is the training of workers. During training workers are educated about the safe use of scaffolds, such as how it be erected, moved, dismantled, and maintained properly, and that all workers who perform tasks on the scaffold fully understand the correct safety procedures.
• Every worker is guided to follow the instructions given in the guide book.
• Workers are advised to consider the hazards.
• Use a tagging system.
• Regular inspection and re-inspection of the scaffold to be followed.
How much weight must a scaffold be capable of supporting?
Any scaffold must be structurally sound and sturdy enough to support its own weight and four times the max intended load. It should be without settling or any displacement. Scaffolds should be set up on a completely solid base or foundation. These supporting load safety tips can help keep workers safe and so the company business.
2. Stability of Scaffold
To make and maintain the scaffold stable, unsteady objects should never be used to support planks or scaffolds. Such objects might include loose bricks, boxes, barrels, and the like.
3. Proper Supervision of Scaffold from the Beginning to End
A competent person must supervise workers when scaffolds are erected, dismantled, moved, or altered in any way.
4. Extra Precaution for Scaffold Equipment
All scaffolds must be equipped with toe-boards, mid-rails, and guardrails. What is scaffold guardrail height requirements? Here are the scaffold guardrail requirements.
The top edge height of top rails, or equivalent guardrail system members, shall be 42 inches (1.1 m) plus or minus 3 inches (8 cm) above the walking/working level. When conditions warrant, the height of the top edge may exceed the 45-inch height, provided the guardrail system meets all other criteria.
5. Maintenance of Scaffold
Brackets, braces, screw legs, trusses, or ladders of the scaffold should be routinely examined. Any weak or damaged equipment or scaffold should be replaced or repaired immediately.
6. Scaffold Quality Materials
The metals used for scaffolding are typically steel or aluminum. Steel scaffolding or scaffold equipment has great strength and durability. At the same time, it has a certain amount of elasticity which helps prevent cracks. Steel can support very heavy loads, and workers can use it to transport heavy equipment and supplies.
7. Scaffolding Inspection
The qualified, designated, and certified “competent person” is required to inspect all scaffoldings and scaffold i.e. working platform at a fixed period of interval. The competent person must re-inspect at predetermined intervals. This inspection should include even the most-minute alterations/shifts that could pose a potential danger to workers.
8. Rigging Inspection of Scaffold
The rigging on the suspension scaffolds must undergo inspection by the company’s competent and experienced person. The rigging inspection should occur before each working shift. And this inspection should be performed time and again. Sometimes the structural integrity of the suspension scaffold is not safe. Because it can be affected or compromised. Connections between the scaffolding components should be tight. And no damage should occur within the rigging.
9. Diagonal Braces Instruction
Scaffold and construction workers are required to be trained about the hazards of using diagonal braces as their fall protection.
10. Safe Access to Scaffold
The scaffold used for construction work must be accessed by way of stairwells and ladders. Construction workers should not access scaffold via unsteady means, or objects.
11. Safe Power Line Distance from Scaffold
The scaffold built and used for construction work must rest at least 10 feet away from electrical power lines during all times.
Some required safety features should be supplied upon purchase or hire of the tower, for example:
• There must be required scaffold platforms with trapdoor entry and exit facilities so that they can be installed at 2m height intervals during assembly and dismantling.
• There should be guardrails fitted all the way around every scaffold platform at a minimum height of 950mm and with a maximum 470mm vertical gap between the guardrails and the platform.
• A scaffold built-in access ladder or staircase for safe ascent and descent.
• 4 stabilizers of the correct size for the height of the scaffold tower.
• There must be required toe-boards to prevent the fall of any materials.
• There must be user instructions that show one of the two recognized safe assembly and dismantling methods of a scaffold.
There are 2 recognized safe methods to assemble and dismantle a scaffold tower:
1) Advance Guardrail (AGR) Method. In this method, guardrail side frames are put in place in advance of anyone getting onto the scaffold i.e. temporary platform. They are put in place from ground level for the first platform level, and the protected position of a platform below for the higher platform levels.
2) Through The Trap (3T) Method. In this method, guardrails are put in place before stepping onto the scaffold/ temporary platform. The operator positions themselves within the open trap door, seated on the platform, from where they install or remove the guardrails.
A scaffold or construction company should make sure that persons with sufficient skills, knowledge, and experience are employed to perform the scaffolding task or, if they are being trained, that they must work under the supervision of someone skilled and competent to do it.
When the required work is 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 i.e. how to tie a ladder properly, and appropriate specific training on the job and not necessarily in a classroom.
The work that requires a more technical level of competence, 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.
Shore-scaffold and lean-scaffolds are strictly prohibited. Scaffold employees and construction workers are prohibited from working on scaffolds covered with snow, ice, or other slippery materials - except to remove these substances. Employers must provide access when the scaffold platforms are more than 2 feet above or below a point of access.
Yes. There must be a person having the required qualification with the proper training to design the scaffold as per project need. He or she with the proper degree, certification, or professional training to set up the scaffold safely, so that workers and platform are both be safe.
types of scaffolds can support the different load as given below:
1. Light-Duty “standard scaffold”— 25 pounds per square foot (applied uniformly)
2. Medium-Duty “brick masons”— 50 pounds per square foot (applied uniformly)
3. Heavy-Duty “stone-setters”— 75 pounds per square foot (applied uniformly)
The common hazards associated with all scaffolds include:
• Falls from an elevation of a scaffold, due to lack of fall protection,
• The collapse of the scaffold, caused by instability or overloading,
• Being struck by falling tools, work materials, or debris,
• Electrocution, because of the proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines.
There are different key scaffolding standards recommended for the application while designing, erecting, using, and dismantling the structure, such as:
• Each scaffold and scaffold component should be manufactured following a standard that must support without failure its own weight and at least 4 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it.
• A qualified and experienced person must design the scaffolds, which are loaded in accordance with that design recommendation.
• Load-carrying timber members should be a minimum of 1,500 lb-f/in2 construction grade lumber.
• Each platform must be planked and decked as fully as possible with the space between the platform and uprights not more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide.
• The scaffold standard requires employers to protect each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet (3.1 m) above a lower level from falling to that lower level with a facility of providing guardrails along all open sides.
• Guardrails are not required:
• When the front end of all platforms are less than 14 inches (36 cm) from the face of the work.
• When outrigger scaffolds are 3 inches (8 cm) or less from the front edge.
• When employees are plastering and lathing 18 inches (46 cm) or less from the front edge.
The maximum gap permissible between scaffold and structure is 225mm, but the client would have to do a risk assessment to control against falling materials or possible injuries to persons working on the scaffold.
OSHA safety rule requires that employers must provide fall protection to construction workers on a walking or working surface with an unprotected edge that is 6 feet or more above a lower level on a scaffold.
The maximum recommended load for a scaffold is 25 pounds per square foot. It can also be calculated as multiply 35 square feet by 25 pounds per square foot and the scaffold can be loaded with no more than 875 pounds.
ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute. It is an independent organization that oversees standards for numerous industries. These standards help create uniformity for products, processes, and ways to share information, such as accident prevention information.
The material used for manufacturing scaffolding components or erecting a scaffold depends on the job, type, and size of the project. The material used for making scaffolds are generally wood, steel, and aluminum considered depending on the recommendation construction designer and architect. Make sure to factor in the size, strength, overall cost, and environmental conditions before making the final choice
The casualty depends on the height, a worker or employee falls, he can be seriously injured or even killed from a fall from a scaffold platform. Therefore proper safety gear should be used during the working hours on the scaffold to prevent injury and death.