When you are working on anything at a high elevation, it's important that you consider safety first and foremost. Scaffolding is typically one of the safest options for working above the ground, particularly because it offers a stable foundation and flat, wide work platform. If you've never dealt with scaffolding before, it can look like little more than a web of posts and platforms. Here's what you need to know about focusing on safety during your first venture onto scaffolding.
Ensure the Structural Safety
One of the biggest contributing factors to the safety of scaffolding is the basic structure. You should inspect your scaffolding every time you are going to use it so that you can be sure it is safe.
Check the footings to be sure that they are stable and secure. You shouldn't feel any movement in the footings if you try to wiggle them. Confirm that the guardrails on the scaffolding are stable and well supported. All of the open sides of the scaffold should be protected by toeboards that are several inches tall. This will protect your feet from sliding off the edge of the scaffold base.
Inspect all of the bolts and joints to make sure that they are tight. Screws, bolts and nuts can come loose as the scaffold wiggles under the typical use. Make sure that they are all tight before every use.
Consider Your Personal Safety
Anytime you work around or on scaffolding, you should wear a hard hat. When you're working under or around the scaffolding, the hard hat protects your head from any possible falling parts. When you're on the scaffolding, it can protect you from hitting your head, which could put you at an increased risk of falling.
Always wear non-skid shoes or thick-soled boots when you're on a scaffold. In most environments, steel-toed boots with non-stick soles are a valuable investment. You should also be sure that you are secured to an anchor line at all times when you are on the scaffold. Wear a safety belt that you can clip the anchor line to, and then attach the other end to a secure overhead line or a safety latch on the building. Don't anchor yourself to the scaffold, because it can put you at risk of injury if the scaffold falls.
There's no reason to face home improvement projects with a ladder and put yourself at risk. With these core safety considerations, you can approach your first work project on a scaffold with confidence. By taking your safety and the structural stability of the scaffold into consideration from the start, you can reduce the risk of potentially serious injuries.