Scaffold Safety Practices: General Guidelines for Proper Erection of Scaffold Projects

Scaffold safety should be of paramount importance in any construction project. By observing certain guidelines and practices when erecting scaffolding projects, project managers and scaffolding services providers can prevent accidents and serious injuries. In addition, they can further minimize risks by hiring a company that provides rigorous scaffolding safety training to employees. There are various factors to consider during erection:

Energized power lines
Before erection of a scaffold project, one important practice is awareness of power lines in the work area and their voltage. Project managers should maintain a safe clearance between scaffolds and power lines. For instance, there should be a minimum distance of two to three feet for insulated lines with less than 300 volts. For insulated lines with 300 volts or more and for all uninsulated power lines, a minimum distance of ten feet is required.

Scaffold decks
To ensure scaffold safety on decks, planks should be no more than one inch wide for plank warp and wane. A guardrail system is not required if the platform is less than 16 inches from the building, except for suspended scaffolds where the maximum distance is 12 inches. The space between the last plank and the guardrail, which is also the space required to install an additional plank, should not exceed nine and a half inches.

Access to and between scaffolds
Different kinds of ladders such as portable, hook-on, attachable, and stairway-type can serve as access to and between scaffolds. To ensure scaffold safety, these ladders should meet the standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ladders should not be more than two feet from the supporting level.

Aside from ladders, integral prefabricated scaffold rungs, direct passage from another scaffold, structure or personnel hoist, ramps, and runways can also be used to access different areas of scaffold projects. Also, rest platforms must be installed for every 30 to 36 feet of elevation.

Project managers will do well to work with companies that provide scaffolding safety training to employees to ensure scaffold safety during erection of scaffolding projects. This way, they can prevent accidents that can lead to lawsuits, serious injuries, and even death.

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