In Australia, scaffolding is governed by several strict laws and principles. If they are not appropriately erected and if safety protocols are not followed while using them, then serious consequences can ensue. Resultantly, all users must follow the rules diligently, regardless of the circumstances. If you haven’t been required to erect building platforms before or you have forgotten the things you learned from your training, then check out this comprehensive guide on the art of scaffolding safety.
Do install the platform sequentially and logically
If you want to be able to use your scaffolding towers safely and responsibly, then the installation process is paramount. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s steps and guidelines during the installation process, to prevent injury. The foundations are the first place to start and building on level ground is non-negotiable. If the soil is unstable, make sure you use base plates that you can attach to the base of the tower for added stability. If you are working on grass or dirt (as opposed to concrete or cement), then using these base plates are essential.
Don’t stand on the tower when loading/unloading
When the scaffolding platform is being loaded or unloaded with materials, no one must be standing on the platform during that time. This can cause the platform to collapse if it is overloaded, thereby compromising the safety and lives of those in proximity.
Do exit the mobile towers before moving
Some scaffolding towers are mobile, making them perfect for home-based construction work, where a smaller platform can be moved with ease around the edges of the structure. However, no one must be on the platform when it is moved, as the ground could be unsteady, and the scaffolding tower could flip or collapse.
Don’t use a damaged platform
This one seems rather obvious. If the tower is damaged, broken or defective in any way, then do not attempt to use it. On construction sites across New South Wales and other states of Australia, building platforms must be inspected before and after use. This is essential to identify any potential hazards or defects that may have emerged while the equipment was not being used (like over a weekend, public holiday or during inclement weather). Whatever the reason, do not use a damaged building platform, no matter how much it sets back your deadlines and productivity.
Do wear full protection
When using building towers, all workers on the site must be wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) and other necessary industrial protective gear, such as earplugs, hard hats, goggles, gloves, safety shoes and high visibility clothing. Safety harnesses need to be checked and re-checked before performing work from a dangerous height.
Don’t climb on parts of the frame not intended for that purpose
You’d be surprised how common it is for workers to climb parts of the scaffolding that are not designed for climbing. Don’t use the handrails or the guardrails for walking mobility, as this will only increase the chance of serious injury occurring. These components of the frame could be covered in water, mud or ice, making them slippery and unstable.
Do be mindful of others
Being mindful of other workers on the site is rule number one of any industrial setting. When you’re operating heavy machinery or working from a great height, your actions or negligence could have very severe consequences for those around you. This principle must be applied to the use of scaffolding, regardless of the circumstances. When using a building platform, be aware of those above and below you.