When hiring, buying or implementing your own scaffolding on a project, safety responsibilities begin from the moment your onsite.
Regardless of owning, hiring or having bought your scaffolding, as soon as your scaffolding is on site, it is your responsibility or the responsibility of the contracted scaffolding services you have employed, to ensure the structural stability at all times.
Responsibilities don’t just begin when the scaffolding arrives and is erected, then ends because it installed. That’s just the beginning of the daily maintenance required when scaffolding is erected into a structure. The scaffolding access you have provided is expected to take the daily and regularly, varying weight of tradesmen, workloads and equipment.
Maintenance of Scaffolding – when erected and in use
Once you have levelled all uneven ground, incorporated required hop-ups. You or the scaffolding contractors you have employed to install and fully manage the structure – have daily responsibilities which include;
- Daily Inspection – fully check all scaffold tubes, connections, boards, fittings and components within the structure, for any damage or signs of defects
- Daily Inspection – of Every Lift, ensuring all scaffold boards, handrails, connections and fittings are not damaged and are fit for purpose
- Daily Inspection – of external scaffold towers or internal access, ladders and ladder access gates
- Daily Inspection – of scaffold debris nets, fall prevention systems and loading towers
- Daily Inspection – ground surfaces, base jacks, sole boards or tredda plates
It is a legal requirement that all scaffolding when erected and in use is managed by a fully trained and qualified scaffolding professional.
All inspections must also be fully recorded, each lift must also be equipped with a clear and up-to-date, scaffold-tag system. It’s not legislation to use a scaffold tag system.
However, it is legislation to conduct a scaffolding inspection procedure, on any structure an individual may fall two meters or more.
Scaffolding inspections must be conducted upon complete installation of the structure, followed by weekly inspections thereafter. Carried out and reported by a competent and qualified person.
Scaffold tags and ladder tags, if utilised – should be easily found within each lift, clearly showing the date of inspection, the outcome / findings of the inspection and who conducted the inspection.
Any aspects of the scaffolding that do cause concern due to damage or general wear and tear, must be replaced immediately and all works stopped until the scaffolding is structurally sound.
Maintenance of Scaffolding – when dismantled and inspected after use
Scaffolding of any height or type, be that mobile scaffold towers or full-scale system scaffolding consisting of multiple lifts – must be fully inspected once dismantled.
Even once a project has finished, the responsibilities as a scaffolding owner / scaffolding company don’t end there. All scaffolding must be accounted for, cleaned and inspected for damage, defects, wear and tear.
Before the scaffolding can be used again, any defective, unfit for purpose components, fittings, boards and scaffolding – must be sent for scaffolding repair, followed by retesting the scaffolding and verifying it meets all ISO and HSE standards and legislation.
We regularly see and hear about scaffolding accidents and sadly fatalities.
Not all are due to lack of scaffold safety, but the majority we have to say – are. Just take a look within the search engines.
Every month the media cover numerous scaffolding incidents, that could easily have been avoided if suffice safety measures were in place. The correct access used for the task at hand and the scaffolding was kept in a safe, working condition.
Sadly, despite regulations set out by the HSE, site visit inspections conducted by the HSE, safety standard updates and changes regularly released by NASC and ISO legislation. Sadly, some companies and contractors care more about their own margin from the job, than they do about the lives of others their putting at risk.