Scaffolding Safety and OSHA

In the construction industry, workers are the most valuable assets, making worker safety a top priority. For this reason, OSHA and ANSI guidelines are valuable tools in safeguarding the health of workers on the jobsite. Since OSHA was created to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths, taking their guidelines and citations into concern can only benefit worker health.

To help contractors stay proactive about scaffolding safety, we’ve compiled five scaffolding safety tips for construction projects to be safe and maintain ideal productivity.

Slow down, consider efficient building alternatives — This tip is the most important and the toughest to enforce. Speed is often of the essence, but don’t sacrifice speed for safety as long as you’re working at the highest level of efficiency. Invest in techniques and tools that allow for greater efficiency so that safety isn’t compromised.

Keep your workplace organized — The category of slips, trips, and falls accounts for the highest number of safety violations. An easy way to avoid both citation and injury is to encourage worksite organization. Making sure tools are not left in random places can help guarantee less risk for tripping accidents. Tripping is an especially dangerous mishap when done on or around scaffolding. The easiest ways to avoid this hazard are either through systemization of tool placement or equipment that facilitates an easy and out-of-the-way organizational system. Another safety benefit to tool organization is that it can reduce the likelihood of knocking the tools from scaffolding or platforms, which can then injure those working below, waste time, and damage tools.

Identify hazards — Evaluate both the site and the project to figure out what the most likely hazards could be, and think about potential solutions before construction starts. Are you working near overheard power lines? Are you going to need to move scaffolding during the project? Are you hoisting awkward materials like windows or skylights to a second floor or roof?

Proper training — Make sure workers are trained in the most recent OSHA requirements, and know the procedures for dealing with the potential hazards that could arise.

Review the site — It’s important not only to identify the hazards, but also to review the worksite during construction. If you keep an eye out for potential problems, they can be caught and avoided before they arise. Before work begins, make sure a qualified professional has checked that scaffolding or platforms have been set up correctly and include all relevant safety precautions preferred by OSHA to protect workers at heights. Scaffolding safety involves an effort to be as efficient as possible.

Information was provided by Kee Safety.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of School Planning & Management.

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