Scaffolds are present at many construction sites throughout California and the United States. In fact, approximately 65% of workers in the construction industry do work which requires scaffolds.
Scaffolds are a convenient and necessary part of most any construction work site. However, there are many hazards associated with using scaffolds. According to Optimum Safety Management, there are four major hazards scaffolds present that everybody must be aware of to stay safe on the job.
Falls and collapses
Scaffold use results in frequent falls. The standard requirements from OSHA stipulate that fall protection must be present on scaffolds that are 10 feet tall or higher. This actually represents the legal minimum amount of protection, and many contractors require fall protection at 6 feet.
Collapses represent a risk of significant injury. In order for a scaffold to not collapse, experienced workers must construct it appropriately. The workers must understand how much weight the scaffold needs to hold, foundation stability, where to place scaffold planks and what distance to place the scaffold from the work surface.
Falling materials and electrocution
Objects falling off of scaffold platforms cause many injuries each year. Usually, workers must install netting or toe boards on platforms to stop items from falling. Some contractors also erect barricades that prevent workers from walking under scaffolds.
There must be a minimum of 10 feet between any scaffold and an electrical hazard. If this is not possible, then somebody must power the electrical hazard off or insulate it. Scaffolds may be a necessary part of any construction work site, but contractors and employees alike must take appropriate steps to ensure that the workplace stays safe.