Ladders and scaffolds are commonly utilized in the construction industry. Ladders and scaffolds are also used with significant frequency outside the construction industry as well. There exists a key different between the use of ladders and scaffolds in the construction industry and in the private sector. In the construction industry, workers normally receive a decent amount of training and instruction on the safe use of ladders and scaffolds. The same cannot be said of those who utilize ladders and scaffolds in the private sector.
Even with proper training as a matter of routine in the construction industry, thousands of workers are injured in accidents related to the use of ladders and scaffolds. With this in mind, if you will be involved with the use of ladders and scaffolds, you need to understand the inherent risks associated with these devices. You need to know what steps you can take to optimize safety associated with setting up and utilizing ladders and scaffolds.
Ladder Set Up Safety Tips
The first step you need to take when setting up a ladder is to inspect it closely. You need to make certain that there are no defects or areas of damage on a ladder. Specifically, you need to be on the lookout for defects that include:
- loose rungs
- sharp edges
Once the inspection is completed you need to exercise care when moving the ladder to the location in which it will be utilized. You need to pay attention to the length and weight of the ladder when determining whether it can be safely carried by one person. Longer, heavy ladders usually require more than one person to move to protect anyone involved in moving it. As a general rule, in order to enhance safety, a ladder should be carried horizontally.
The only real exception to carrying a ladder horizontally is when it is shorter and lighter. A ladder under 8-feet tall, and that doesn’t weigh much, usually can be carried safely in a vertical position.
Both a self-supporting and a non-self supporting derivation must be placed on firm, level, stable ground in advance of use. A supporting latter is one that is opened to form an A-frame. A non-self supporting ladder is the type that is leaned against a wall.
A non-supporting ladder is safely positioned using a specific formulation. A non-supporting ladder is safely positioned when the horizontal distance from the top support of the ladder to the foot is about 1/4 the overall working length of the ladder. Too great a deviation from this scheme renders a ladder less stable.
A supporting ladder must be fully opened before use. Indeed, it must be fully opened and latched in to place.
Never stand on the top step of a ladder. Never stand on a ladder higher than the second rung or step to the top.
Scaffold Set Up Safety Tips
The key to scaffold safety is based in the manner in which it is assembled in the first instance. A considerable percentage of scaffold injuries, and even deaths, occur because of a mistake in assembling it in the first instance. For this reason, unless a scaffold is smaller and comes pre-assembled, you best protect the safety of those who will use the scaffold to have it professionally assembled.
Once a scaffold is professional assembled, or a pre-assembled version is utilized, the next step is to ensure that the scaffold is properly positioned. Like a ladder, a scaffold needs to be placed on firm, level, stable ground in advance of use.
Care must be taken to ensure that the scaffold is directly against the structure on which it is needed. There can be a space between the structure being worked on and the scaffold of a few inches. Any larger space can create a potential hazard.
A key to ensuring the safe use of a scaffold is taking care to keep the workspace organized. For example, by keeping tools properly stowed and organized when not in use, you reduce the risk presented by unnecessary movement on a scaffold. You also lessen the likelihood that tools, or other items, will fall from a scaffold, causing injury to another person.
Finally, you need to make sure you properly identify any hazards near a scaffold before its use commences. For example, you need to make sure power lines and sources of electricity are properly identified if work must be undertaken nearby. Proactive safety planning of this type is crucial to preventing scaffold-related accidents and injuries.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.