Scaffold system is a temporary structure which provides the requisite protection against any kind of falls while performing construction or renovation related work at heights. It can be used inside tall buildings as well as outside them, in order to make the construction and repairing work easy.
In the past few years, Scaffolding Sales have soared considering, as they have become one of the main pre-requisites to carry out various construction jobs, whether it is house-building, offices, bridges or airports, amongstst others. The usage of scaffolding systems may differ from country to country. For eg in Asian countries, Bamboo scaffolds are still generally acceptable, while in Australia, US & other European countries, Aluminum and Steel scaffolding is a must, as per the guidelines and safety standards.
While setting-up any scaffolding system at the site, there are strict guidelines which must be followed at all times. In Australia, these guidelines have been set up by the Australian Government in order to ensure maximum safety of its workers. Not just for the installers, there are strict guidelines to be adhered to for manufacturers and suppliers of Scaffolding materials too. Tubes, fittings, boards, ladders, everything follows a particular standard. As an example, AS / NZS 1576.2.2009 is a standard written for couplers and Scaffolding Accessories Australia, which are used in setting-up of a scaffold system.
Based on the work to be carried out on them and the load capacity, various scaffold platforms are categorized as heavy, medium or light platforms. These are decided based on the following:
• For plastering, painting, electrical work and other light tasks, Light-duty scaffolds should be used and the load must not exceed more than 225 kg per bay.
• For general trades work such as building maintenance, Medium-duty scaffold system should be used and the load must not exceed 450 kg per bay.
• For work like heavy duty plant maintenance, oil and gas terminal etc, heavy-duty scaffolding should only be used and the load limit for each bay should not exceed more than 675 kg per bay.
Any scaffold system greater than 4m of height, must be installed only by a government certified professional, and at any point of time, QC surveyors are entitled to carry out random checks on tubes, spanners, metal boards, scaffolding accessories / various couplers viz Joint Pins, external joiners etc., whenever required.
Apart from this, at each point of time, it is the employers' responsibility to provide a safe working environment, and welfare facilities which comes under OH & S standards.