Scaffolding is erected on construction sites, and is the temporary structure that is put up to enable construction workers to reach the highest parts of a new building. The erection of scaffolding is a highly specialised thing and should always be done by a qualified professional. There are contractors who specialise only in putting up scaffolding, and will be hired to work on construction sites.
Because scaffolding can reach extremely high, and is only a temporary structure, it is imperative that all safety risks are taken into consideration before it is set up.
One of the first things that needs to be checked is the ground where the scaffolding is being set up. In cold climates, extra caution should be taken that the ground for the scaffolding foundation is not frozen. If it is, and then starts to melt, then you will have to worry about the scaffolding sinking. The key focus is to have the most stable ground possible for the foundation of the scaffolding.
It is extremely important that the scaffolding is level. As the scaffolding grows and gets taller, it is important that it is checked regularly by a qualified professional to ensure that it is level. It is important that the scaffolding be supported on adjustable stands, and if it is rolling scaffold that all the castors are locked securely.
It is imperative that all scaffolding platforms are complete from front to back and with both sides meeting. Any gaps in the wood must not be larger than 25mm wide as a gap wider than this can allow tools to slip through. All open sides of the scaffolding platform must be equipped with toe boards and guardrails. Access to the scaffolding must be safe for the worker, with ladders placed in such a way that the worker will not have to climb over cross bracing.
It is very important that the front of the scaffolding is at least 14 inches away from the front of the building that is being worked on. You do not want your scaffolding to lean against the building, as this will make it less of a support.
If anything, employee safety is the most important thing with regards to scaffolding. Hard hats must be worn at all times by anyone working on or around the scaffolding. Employees should not be made to work on the scaffolding in bad weather conditions, such as heavy wind or snow. All employees utilising the scaffolding should have been given full training on how to utilise it properly. People should never be allowed to stay on the scaffolding whilst it is being moved, if it is rolling scaffold. All tools must be removed off the scaffolding at night and any heavy tools that are needed must be sent up and down the scaffolding with a hoist.
As you can see, there are many different points to remember when it comes to scaffolding. Using scaffolding incorrectly can be very dangerous, and life threatening to the people utilising it and around it. It is important that all these safety measures are adhered to strictly, and that scaffolding is always set up by a qualified person.