A Complete Guide To Suspended Scaffolding
Suspended scaffolding, also known as hanging scaffold, is a type of scaffolding that is suspended from the roof or another elevated structure. It’s common in construction, painting, and maintenance work where access to the building’s facade or roof is required.
This equipment is a versatile and efficient solution for working at heights. However, it’s worth noting that falls from such heights account for about 13% of workplace fatalities. To avoid such accidents, you need proper planning, installation, and maintenance of your scaffolding.
This guide will discuss the different types of suspended scaffolding, their advantages, and safety guidelines for proper use.
Types Of Suspended Scaffolding
The main types of suspended scaffolding include single-point, two-point, and multi-point scaffolding. In this section, we will look at each one in turn.
- Single-Point Suspension Scaffolding
This type of hanging scaffold is supported by a single overhead anchor point. It typically consists of a platform suspended by wire ropes from an overhead structure or building. The platform can be raised or lowered to different levels to allow workers to access different areas of the structure.
Single-point suspension scaffolding has several advantages:
- It is highly versatile and can be used for various construction, maintenance, and repair tasks on buildings, bridges, and other structures, including residential scaffolds.
- It provides easy access to vertical and overhead work areas, allowing workers to reach heights and positions that are otherwise challenging or inaccessible.
- The ability to raise and lower the platform enables efficient work progress, reducing the need for constant repositioning or assembling and disassembling of the scaffolding.
- It minimises obstructions on the ground, providing a safer and less crowded work environment, especially in areas with limited space.
Since it only has a single anchor point, this type of scaffolding may not be suitable for heavy loads.
- Two-Point Suspension Scaffolding
Two-point suspension scaffolding is a suspended scaffold supported by two overhead anchor points or supports. It consists of a platform suspended by wire ropes or chains connected to both ends of the platform, creating a balanced system.
It has several advantages:
- The use of two anchor points ensures stability and balance, providing a secure working platform for workers.
- Two-point suspension scaffolding can support heavier loads compared to single-point scaffolding, making it suitable for tasks that require additional equipment or materials.
- This type of scaffolding is adaptable to different building shapes and sizes, making it suitable for a wide range of construction, maintenance, and renovation projects.
- Workers can easily manoeuvre vertically along the facade of a building, accessing various heights and positions with ease.
Also known as swing stage scaffolding, this is one of the most common types of suspended scaffolding used in construction projects.
- Multi-Point Suspension Scaffolding
Multi-point suspension scaffolding uses multiple anchor points or supports to suspend the platform. It utilises a complex system of wire ropes, chains, and counterweights to distribute the load evenly and provide stability. This type of scaffolding is commonly used for large-scale projects or when there is a need for extensive coverage.
Like the two types discussed above, this comes with its own advantages:
- Multi-point suspension scaffolding offers increased stability and load-bearing capacity, allowing for heavier loads and accommodating multiple workers simultaneously.
- It provides a wide coverage area, making it suitable for tasks that require access to a large section of a building’s facade, such as painting, cleaning, or renovation.
- It can be customised and adapted to different building shapes and irregularities, providing a secure working platform in challenging environments.
- With multiple workers operating on different sections of the scaffold simultaneously, productivity and work progress can be significantly improved.
It is essential to understand the different types of suspended scaffolding for you to select the best scaffold system for your project. This will help you choose the right equipment based on project requirements, accessibility needs, and safety considerations.
Components Of A Suspended Scaffold
One important aspect of understanding scaffolding equipment is to learn about its components. In this section, we discuss what a suspended scaffold consists of.
The platform is the working surface of the suspended scaffold. It’s typically made of wood, metal, or other durable materials, and is supported by suspension ropes. It must be wide enough to accommodate the workers and their equipment. Additionally, it should be strong enough to support the weight of this load.
- Suspension Ropes
These are the primary support of the suspended scaffold. They’re typically made of steel wire rope and are attached to the roof or any elevated structure using a suspension mechanism. They should be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good condition and free from defects.
These balance the weight of the scaffold and prevent it from tipping over. They are typically made of concrete or steel and are placed on the opposite end of the scaffold from the working platform. The counterweights should be properly secured to prevent them from moving or falling off the scaffold.
- Safety Devices
Safety devices such as safety harnesses, lanyards, and lifelines should be used to prevent falls and ensure worker safety. Other essential safety systems you should have for your project include the following:
- Guardrails, Midrails, And Toeboards: These safety devices are designed to prevent falls from the scaffolding. Guardrails are installed on all open sides and ends of the scaffolding, while midrails are installed halfway between the guardrail and the platform. Toeboards are set up along the edge of the platform to prevent tools and materials from falling off the scaffold.
- Personal Fall Arrest Systems: These systems are designed to protect workers who may fall from scaffolding. A full-body harness should be worn by the worker, and it should be attached to a lanyard and an anchor point. The lanyard should be short enough to prevent the worker from hitting the ground if they fall.
- Safety Net Systems: These systems are used as a last resort when other fall protection measures are not feasible. Safety nets are installed below the scaffold to catch any workers or materials that may fall.
It’s important that you hire an expert to inspect all safety devices before each work shift to ensure the safety of your workers.
- Suspension Mechanism
The suspension mechanism is used to raise and lower the suspended scaffold. It’s typically a motorised winch or hoist that is controlled by the worker on the platform. It should be inspected regularly to ensure that it’s in good condition and functioning properly.
Safety Guidelines For Using Suspended Scaffolding
In construction sites, safety should always be a top priority. It’s essential to understand and implement these guidelines when using suspended scaffolding.
- Proper Planning: Proper planning is essential for the safe use of suspended scaffolding. The scaffold should be designed and installed by a qualified professional, and it should be inspected regularly to ensure that it is in good condition and functioning properly.
- Proper Training: Workers who use suspended scaffolding should receive proper training on its use and safety guidelines. They should also be trained on how to properly fit and use safety devices, such as harnesses, lanyards, and lifelines.
- Proper Maintenance: Suspended scaffolding should be inspected regularly for issues or irregularities. Any defects or damage should be repaired promptly, and the scaffold should be taken out of service if it is not safe to use.
- Proper Use: Workers should follow proper safety guidelines when using suspended scaffolding. This includes wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, not overloading the scaffold, and not modifying or altering the scaffold without proper authorisation.
By following the guidelines above, you can prevent potential accidents at your worksite, and your workers can carry out their tasks with peace of mind.
Suspended scaffolding is a versatile and efficient solution for construction projects that require workers to work at heights. Because of the risks involved in its use, it’s important to ensure safety with proper planning, installation, and maintenance. Understanding the different types of suspended scaffolding is also crucial for selecting the appropriate scaffold system, which will, in turn, ensure the safety of your workers and help you achieve a successful outcome to your project.