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Scaffolding Safety Spotlight – Handrails and Toe Boards

The safety of scaffolding doesn’t just begin and end once the scaffolding is erected.

The safety of any scaffold involves erecting, inspecting, management and maintenance – from the ground up. The risks of a scaffolding system are as changeable as the job it was installed to provide access to.

The ever evolving weather and environmental factors, multiple trades regularly accessing the structure alongside a multitude of tools, equipment and varying weights – requires risk assessment, hazard awareness and the compulsory scaffolding safety components.


Scaffolding Safety Spotlight


The Purpose and Function of Scaffolding Handrails

The purpose of a scaffolding structure is to provide safe and stable access when working at height. Working at height involves multiple trades, tools and equipment also being at height.

It’s easy to appreciate the risks of tools, equipment and employees falling from the scaffolding structure and also understand the importance of simple safety precautions such as handrails and toe boards, designed to reduce this risk.

Handrails also known as scaffold railings are intended to prevent scaffolding supplies, tools, equipment and employees falling over the edge of the scaffold or falling from the structure. Handrails are designed with three main functions;

  1. To stop people working within the scaffolding structure from falling over the edge of the scaffold
  2. Stop people, objects, tools and equipment falling or slipping under the railing
  3. Prevent objects, tools, equipment and scaffolding supplies being kicked or knocked off the edge of the scaffold structure

 Handrails Posts are required alongside galvanized scaffold tube or aluminium scaffold tube.


The Point and Purpose of Toe Boards

Toe boards are just an imperative scaffolding component working in conjunction with the purpose and function of handrails. The purpose of a toe board is prevent objects, tools and equipment being falling over the edge or being knocked from the scaffolding structure.

Its best practice to implement toe boards whenever handrails are used whenever there’s a risk of tools or objects falling from the edge.

Toes board requirements as set by the HSE and the US equivalent OSHA state a toe board must be a minimum height of at least 4” tall with a gap no less than 1/4” at the bottom, with the ability to withstand a weight of 50 lbs.

Toe Board Brackets are required along with scaffold toe boards.


Scaffolding Safety – Worker Protection and Fall Prevention

Toe boards and handrails are essential scaffolding components required for all types of system scaffolding as well as traditional tube and fitting scaffolding and roof edge protection.

Handrails and toe boards are a prime example of simplistic scaffolding safety at it best by preventing scaffolding supplies, tools and equipment falling out with the structure as well as providing fall prevention for people working from the structure.


Final Thoughts

We provide a wide range of scaffold safety solutions, scaffolding safety products, fall prevention systems and access solutions available locally, nationally and internationally.

For more details on any of the scaffolding systems, fittings or safety solutions manufactured by St Helens Plant, supplied worldwide contact us – INFO@STHP.CO.UK or call us on 01744 850 300.

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