5 Tips For Staying Safe While Using Scaffolding Equipment At Your Worksite
Even after receiving the training required by OSHA, you may still have questions about staying safe while working on scaffolding equipment at your employer's worksite. If so, remember the following five tips for staying safe while working on a scaffold at work.
Inspect the Rigging Before Using
Before you get onto the scaffold, always inspect the rigging to make sure it is securely attached to the work area. Even if someone looked it over that morning, double check it yourself before you set a foot on it.
Especially if it is later in the day, the beams or platform may have shifted while others were working on the equipment. To keep yourself safe from a potential fall, make sure the anchors are firmly in place.
Wear Thick Rubber-Soled Boots
When you know you will be working on a scaffold on a given day, make sure you wear thick rubber-soled boots to work. The boots should have deep rubber tread on them that gives you enough traction, even if you are walking on the metal surface of the scaffolding equipment.
While most platforms have grooves that give some traction, it may not be enough to keep you from slipping if your footwear has slick soles. However, when combined with boots that have thick rubber tread on them, the two surfaces create enough friction to keep you from slipping and falling.
Hook a Small Level to Your Belt
Keeping the platform balanced is essential while you are working on a scaffold. If it is even an inch or two off, you may not be able to balance yourself while working above the ground, increasing your risk of falling and injuring yourself.
To check the platform periodically, hook a small bubble level to your belt. Lay it on the platform's surface whenever you suspect it may have shifted to make sure it is still balanced and straight. If not, descend the scaffold and readjust the platform before returning to work.
Always Use the Guardrails When Moving Around
While you may think it slows down your work to keep one hand on the guardrails, it is essential to do so whenever you are walking or pivoting on the platform. Even if you think you are perfectly balanced, you never know when you may trip or slip.
Keeping one hand on the guardrail can give you enough leverage to catch yourself. Even if you do fumble on the platform, this simple action could keep you from falling and hitting the ground below.
Keep the Platform Dry and Free of Debris
While working high above the ground, always be vigilant about keeping the platform dry and free of debris. If you drop any paint or solvents on the platform, clean up the mess right away.
Any liquids or materials left on the surface of the platform will break the traction between it and your boots. This loss of traction could make you lose your footing and fall.
Also, avoid working on the scaffold whenever it is raining. The inclement weather will make it impossible to keep the platform dry while you are working. Don't think that putting down a drop cloth will help, as it will only make matters worse. Once it is soaked with rain, it will become slippery against the metal, putting you at risk for slipping and falling.
Along with the tips you learned during your company's training, following the above tips can help ensure your safety while working on a scaffold. If you have any further questions about the particular setup your company is using, either speak with your supervisor or contact a manufacturer of scaffolding equipment, like Savage Scaffold & Equipment Co. to seek further guidance on specific safety features.