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Your 14 step checklist for safe erection of scaffolding

by , 03 January 2017
Your 14 step checklist for safe erection of scaffoldingIf you don't take steps to keep your employees safe when they work with scaffolding, you could be fined R50 000, spend a year in jail or both. Don't take that risk! Use this 14 step checklist to put up your scaffolding safely.

If your employees work at heights of 1.5m or higher, make sure the equipment they use is safe for them and the work they carry out.

Here's what you must do to put up scaffolding safely

The Health&Safety Advisor urges you to remember these points before you erect your next scaffold:

#1: Train your scaffold erectors. Employees responsible for erecting safe scaffolds must know what a safe scaffold is to build it to the correct specifications.

#2: Get medical certificates of fitness for all your employees. All your employees who work on scaffolding must have a medical certificate of fitness.

#3: Order the correct amount of scaffold equipment.

After you train the scaffold erector and inspectors, get a list of scaffold items from them so you can build the scaffold to the correct specifications on all projects.

Alternatively, order the specification SANS 10085, from South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).

#4: Order all the appropriate equipment such as hook-on ladders, trap doors, toe boards, bracing, scaff-tags and all the equipment required by SANS 10085.

Always check you have all the components of the scaffold. If you remember to bring these onto site, you'll save time and costs.

If you don't, the DoL could stop your job after work has already started.

#5: Sole plates must be in place. Sole plates are the timber boards that scaffolding is built on and provide a sound foundation for the scaffolding.

#6: Use base jacks. Base jacks will allow the erector to level the scaffold.

#7: Provide safe access. A ladder with trapdoors or a set of scaffold stairs will provide a space for easy entry and exit.

#8: You must provide double hand rails. You must have a rail at roughly knee-height and another at about hip height in place around all four sides of the scaffold.

#9: Make use of toe-boards. These ensure your workers won't kick materials and tools over the edge.

#10: Your scaffold erector must fully board the work platform – nothing less.

An internal ladder for access onto the working platform must have a trap-door in it to allow access onto the working platform. The trapdoor must be closed when it isn't being used for access to prevent items and employee falling through it.

#11: Set a load limit for your scaffolding. The scaffold must safely carry the load imposed on it. If in doubt, consult an engineer to work out the correct load limit. Your load limit must be displayed on the erected scaffolding.

#12:The scaffold must be equipped with a 'safe' or 'unsafe to use' notice. It must have the date of the last inspection on it and must be signed by the scaffold inspector (this is sometimes called a 'scaff-tag').

This sign will indicate whether the scaffold inspector has inspected the scaffold and deems it safe or unsafe to use.

#13: Monitor the weather. This is important when the scaffolding is inspected.

Inspect your scaffolding:

  • On a weekly basis;
  • After bad weather (for example, after windy or rainy weather); and
  • After you make any change to the scaffold (this includes any change to the structure of the scaffold).

#14: Train your scaffold inspector. This person must ensure the scaffold is built to specification and is safe to use.

It's that simple! With this checklist you'll be sure to put up your scaffolding safely and comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

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