News Flash: Your Head and brain cannot be replaced. Your spine cannot be replaced.
Most painters must use scaffolding systems to reach higher surfaces, particularly larger spans. Some painters must use scaffolding on a regular basis. And, at times, most must use it in accident-risk areas.
In 2014, a reported 45 painters suffered serious injuries, or worse, while using scaffolding systems. Many more painters suffered less serious injuries, for which they received treatment from their family physicians. Some of these injuries were filed as workmen’s compensation cases. To avoid lay-offs or terminations, many painters with less severe injuries did not report them to employers. And, they did not tell their family physicians they suffered injury on the job.)
According to OSHA, most scaffolding accidents occur because of tip-overs, falls, contact with live power/utility lines, or being struck by falling debris.
Since 1994, the number of scaffolding collapses has risen, in part due to the extreme heights that some must extend.
“10 Important Scaffolding Safety Tips”
1.Get the right training – based on OSHA Scaffolding Standard § 1926.454, .451. Includes design, operation and maintenance; erecting and dismantling; placing and moving; getting on and off; preventing falls and injury and responding to emergency situations.
2. Be prepared. Inspect scaffolding before and after each assembling, installation, use, and disassembly. Carefully checking all components. Proper installation includes: base placement, level and adjustments; elevations, obstructions, weather conditions/changes.
3. Make sure everyone is licensed. All employers that use scaffolding on job sites must be licensed. *Bob’s Tip: If available in your area, take a scaffolding certification course.
4. Understand load capacity. * Check www.osha.gov – Amendments and appendices. All scaffolding systems must meet load safety limits during scaffolding construction, installation and setup. This includes limits in number of workers, equipment types/size/weight, walkway and guardrail obstructions.
5. Secure the platform. Scaffolding must be braced by or completely attached to a building, using OSHA-approved manufacturer brace retention or locking system. Includes proper, complete and safe assembly, dismantling, and locking.
6. Use the guardrails or a “fall-arrest system.” Scaffolding over 10-ft. height must have guardrails on three sides facing away from building, at minimum. Install scaffolding guardrail on the side facing the building.
7. Inspect entire scaffolding system. Every component/part/section of each scaffolding system or structure must be carefully checked, maintained and inspected to ensure its structural integrity and safety. Person responsible must know all about scaffold system design, construction, assembly, etc. Person must be committed to ensuring that scaffolding is very functional and safe.
8. Keep everything organized. Supplies, materials, tools, and equipment must be placed neatly on scaffolding. Walkways must be kept free of obstructions, spills, trash, etc.
9. Keep yourself balanced at all times. Scaffolding must be kept perfectly level to minimize worker falls, injuries, fatalities.
10. Use protection and prevention gear while working on scaffolding. Gear includes: head gear, non-slip footwear, snug-fitting uniform/clothing, even safety goggles and gloves in some cases.
For detailed guidelines: Go to: www.osha.gov, OSHA Scaffolding Standards§ 1926.
1. Start with Index: “Guide to Safety Standards for Scaffolding Used in Construction Industry,” pages 33-38; “Construction Focus and Inspection Guidelines,” pages 38-39.
2. For updated information: See “Amendments” and “Appendices,” pages 40-85.
3. Examine “Drawings and Illustrations,” pages 86-89. *Bob’s Tip: Enlarge to see details of schematics, component design, connections, etc.
Scaffolding Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
- Choose most appropriate scaffolding for job – eg. tasks, structures, environment, weather.
- Scaffolding should be able to bear 4 times the anticipated weight.
- All workers must wear hard hats to protect themselves. A construction zone- OSHA.
- Project superintendent/managers must review manufacturer’s guidelines for proper use.
- Scaffolding systems must be placed at least 10 feet from power lines.
- Planks should “butt” each other, no more than one inch of open space between.
- Scaffolding access should be OSHA-standard safe, and (cross-braces not used as ladders.
- Planks that are 10 ft. or shorter must be 1-to-12 inches over the line of support.
- Planks 10 ft. or longer must be18 inches over the line of support.
- Platform should be 14 inches away from the wall.
- All metal components of scaffolding must be free from rust, holes or broken welds.
- Workers must be instructed to report any cracks in wood planks larger than ¼ inches.
- Workers must keep scaffolding walkway free of any debris, spills, disassembled parts.
- Shore or lean-to scaffolding is prohibited.
- Overhead protection must be provided when work is being done above. *Bob’s Tip: I’d advise shoulder height up.
Scaffolding system safety is the responsibility of everyone that is linked to scaffolding use. The list of people includes the following:
- Inspectors and scaffolding-system trained repair and maintenance people.
- Haulers, loaders and unloaders.
- Assemblers and disassemblers, installers, set-up and take-down crews.
- Organizers and managers of scaffolding-site work area.
- Painters and other professionals that use it.
The level of safety that any given system can provide depends on people and their commitment to scaffolding safety.
1 .“5 Safety Tips When Working with Scaffolding,” from Kee Safety Company, By Kimberly Hegeman, March 25, 2013. https://www.forconstructionpros.com, (Also read: “A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry.”)
2. “Scaffolding Safety Tips for Handling, Installation and Use,” based on “12 ConstructionPro Scaffolding Safety Tips and Handy Hints,” Construction Pro Tips.com.
3. “10 Important Scaffolding Safety Tips,” Industrial Products, posted May 8, 2016, Gumbrealla.
4. “Scaffolding Safety Tips to Keep in Mind,” based on “Scaffolding Safety Tips” by Stan Bachman, construction law, Morefield Speicher Bachman, LC, posted May 30, 2017.
Friendly reminder: All scaffolding systems are inherently unsafe.
Copyright June 12, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.