Stay Above OSHA Violations With Smart Scaffolding
Whenever you work above ground, you need to pay extra attention to safety.
Accidents that take place at elevated heights can be catastrophic. That’s why the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) takes a special interest in scaffolding and has implemented several standards aimed at keeping you safe.
Familiarizing yourself with those standards can help mitigate risk and is a necessary step for just about anyone working in construction or facilities management. After all, employers who fail to comply could face serious fines and penalties. So, here’s what you need to know before you design and build your scaffold.
Understand the risks
According to OSHA, nearly two-thirds of construction workers frequently use scaffolds in the course of their work. That means millions of Americans are in danger of falling, but that’s not the only danger associated with scaffolding. Scaffolds can just as easily collapse if poorly maintained or loaded with too much weight.
The surroundings also need to be taken into account. Scaffolds put workers close to power lines and other objects that can fall and hit them.
So, before you begin work on a scaffold, be sure to consider both the scaffold’s stability and what’s going on nearby. Then, proceed with caution until you step off.
Follow the leader
Scaffolds are complex systems. They’re often customized to fit a building’s unique specifications, and constructing them isn’t something a crew should muddle through if no one has the right knowledge. After all, when problems arise, you can’t fix them when you’re 50 feet in the air.
You need a plan from the get-go. OSHA requires that all scaffolds be designed by a qualified person. This person will be able to identify the kind of scaffold you need, how much weight it can bear, and how to keep it stable.
Once you have a plan in hand, then comes the matter of assembling it. OSHA mandates that anyone involved in the construction or takedown of a scaffold must be trained by a competent person. If you don’t have trained experts on your staff, the easiest thing to do is to get in touch with us. We have an entire team of professionals that can provide you with the courses you need to satisfy OSHA standards.
Stick to the plan
Once the scaffold is ready, crews need to stay vigilant to stay safe. OSHA requires that scaffolds support four times the maximum intended load. So, once the project is underway, don’t bring unnecessary equipment onto the scaffold. That’s an easy way to accumulate too much weight.
Inclement weather can present a host of challenges, as well. For instance, OSHA prohibits employees from working on snow-covered scaffolds unless they are working to remove the snow. Slippery surfaces are inherently dangerous, and they’re made even more so when suspended above ground. Word to the wise: Be on the lookout.
Work like someone’s watching
Whenever you’re on a job site, ask yourself if you would rather set a good example or be made an example of. Inspections happen with little to no notice, and companies that violate standards can be assessed thousands of dollars in fines. Companies with repeated offenses can end up paying as much as $132,000.
Especially when a job site is up and running, the best practice is to assume an inspection is imminent at all times. Stay prepared and stay aware, and your workers will thank you.
Take safety to the next level
Because scaffolding is most often used on a temporary basis, it naturally lends itself to renting. Our Scaffolding specialty business is equipped to handle all your needs from end to end. Customers often rely on us for advice, handling, and training. If you have a project in mind or want to know more about what we can offer, send us a note and download our free guide.