5 Safety Measures For Mobile Scaffolding To Keep Your Crew Safe
Safety is paramount in any construction project, and it starts with having a comprehensive understanding of each tool and equipment. For instance, before setting up and using a mobile scaffold, you must know how it works and the corresponding safety measures to take.
Unfortunately, some neglect this aspect, leading to accidents at workstations. This can be seen in one study done by SafeWork in 2021, which was conducted on 428 construction sites. It showed that 49% of managers allowed workers to access incomplete scaffolds. This number suggests that at least half of scaffolding-related injuries occur due to negligence.
To mitigate such incidents happening on your site, it’s important to fully understand the potential hazards of mobile scaffolding and take the necessary precautions to keep your team safe.
What is mobile scaffolding?
Also known as rolling or moveable scaffolding, mobile scaffolding is a type of scaffolding that is set on wheels or casters for mobility. This allows easy movement across a worksite, enabling workers to perform their tasks more efficiently.
It’s typically used for tasks like painting, plastering, and repairs, which require workers to move along a large wall or surface. One major advantage is that you don’t need to disassemble and reassemble it when you need to move from one corner of the construction site to another.
If you have a long-term project, purchasing this equipment will be cheaper and more convenient. Otherwise, you may consider mobile scaffold hire Wollongong if you’ll only need it for a short period or for a specific project.
Regardless of the route you choose, be sure to implement the following scaffold safety rules.
- Train your workers
The first step to a safe job environment is ensuring you and your team are on the same page regarding equipment use. Train every member and ensure they’re competent enough before allowing them to use the mobile scaffold.
It’s crucial to instruct your workers on how to safely erect, move, dismantle, and alter the scaffolding. Training should also encompass scaffold best practices, such as not overloading it and not using it in adverse weather conditions.
While you’re at it, teach your crew about the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to wear it. Make it a rule not to let anyone use the scaffold without their PPE and without being properly secured.
- Hire a licensed scaffolder
Although training your workers is essential, you may also need the services of a professional scaffolder. They will be able to provide the necessary guidance on its usage, as they’re certified to assemble, erect, and dismantle scaffolding structures. Their skills and experience will minimise unnecessary accidents that may happen during your project.
They’re also well-equipped to assess the work site and its requirements, and they can help you select the proper mobile scaffolding for your needs. Environmental conditions and terrain are the two main determinants of this equipment’s stability, so a thorough assessment by a professional scaffolder will enhance the safety of your crew.
- Lock the wheels
This scaffold’s mobility provides more flexibility and convenience than stationary scaffolds. However, if the wheels and casters aren’t secured properly, they can introduce potential hazards during use. Any unexpected movement could cause a worker to lose their balance and fall from the height, which could lead to severe and potentially fatal injuries.
To ensure the safety of your team, it’s essential to lock the wheels before allowing anyone to climb aboard. This will prevent unintended movement of the scaffold, which could cause them to lose their balance. Before any crew member settles with their tools on the platform, ensure that you or the workers have engaged the brakes for each wheel.
- Don’t move the scaffold with workers on it
One of the most significant mistakes workers make on construction sites is moving the mobile scaffold while there are still workers and tools on it. This is dangerous, as it could lead to them or their tools falling from height, which risks the safety of those on the platform and everyone around the scaffold. Before moving the scaffold, ensure that the platform is clear of people and objects.
It’s also good practice to inspect the area where the scaffold will be moved. Check for potential obstacles or uneven surfaces that may cause instability before moving the mobile scaffold to that area.
- Conduct regular inspection and maintenance
Regular inspection and proper maintenance form a two-pronged approach to mobile scaffolding safety. It involves identifying and rectifying potential risks and providing a secure work environment for everyone. Some of the areas that you must always check are the scaffold’s physical structure, its wheels, and its locking mechanism. If you’re unsure how to do a thorough inspection, you can hire a competent scaffolder for this task. Inspections should be done regularly and in the following instances:
- Before each use: Every time the scaffold is about to be used, it should undergo a thorough inspection to check for any signs of wear and tear, missing or loose parts, or compromised structural integrity.
- Following alterations: If any alterations or adjustments are made to the mobile scaffold, an inspection must follow to ensure the changes haven’t compromised the scaffold’s safety or stability.
- After major incidents: Any incident that might affect the scaffold’s condition, such as adverse weather conditions or accidental impacts, calls for an immediate assessment.
- Periodic reviews: Even if the scaffold is not being used, periodic inspections should be conducted as per the local regulations.
Maintenance is just as crucial as regular inspections. It involves repairing or replacing any damaged parts identified during inspections. These repairs and replacements should be done promptly and per the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that the equipment is safe to use the next time it’s needed.
Mobile scaffolding is essential in many building projects. However, it can pose a danger to your crew’s well-being if you don’t have a scaffolding safety checklist to adhere to. To minimise these risks, it’s crucial to prioritize worker training and education on the proper use of scaffolding. In addition to the guidelines above, hiring a licensed scaffolder can also help you make the construction site safe and ensure that it is compliant with regulations and standards.