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8 Steps to minimise risks for employees that work on scaffolds
Step #1: Plan and organise elevated work properly
Only work on scaffolds if the job requires it. Work must be planned, supervised and performed according to safe work procedures. Do a risk assessment!
Step #2: Consider the weather
Check the weather. Delay work if there's a risk to health and safety of the employees.
Step #3: Make sure all employees involved in elevated work are competent
Choose a competent person to supervise or train employees working on scaffolding. Example: Your Health and Safety Officer or Supervisor.
Step #4: Ensure a safe working area
Consider the requirements of the task, the equipment and the environment. Make sure your employees have access to the fall prevention measures. You can display them on a notice board in the working area.
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Step #5: Provide safety equipment, temporary structures and safety features
Always provide equipment to prevent any falls. If there's a risk of a fall, you must do everything possible to reduce the effect of the fall. You must use safety harnesses.
Step #6: Carry out inspections
Choose a competent person to do inspections suitable for safety purposes. Make sure the work areas and surfaces are checked every time your employees work on scaffolds.
Step #7: Avoid fragile surfaces
A fragile surface doesn't safely support the weight of a person or the equipment you're using. You can check if a surface is fragile by assessing:
• The composition of the material, e.g. ceiling boards;
• The thickness of the material;
• The span between supports;
• The design of the supporting structure;
• The age of the material; and
• The type, number and quality of fixings.
Note: No one must go near or onto any fragile surface unless it's the only possible way for the work to be done.
Step #8: Guard against falling objects
To prevent injuries, you must do everything you can to avoid anything from falling.
Ensure the area where there's a risk of falling objects is clearly marked, barricaded and no unauthorised people can access this area. Those with authorisation must wear protective gear such as hard hats at all times.
There're 14 rules your employees must know when working on scaffolding. Turn to chapter S05 of your Health and Safety Advisor
to read all about them.
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