Scaffolding inspection requirements and tips

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Scaffolding inspection

What is Scaffolding?

Before defining scaffolding inspection, let’s define it to have a better understanding of the topic.A scaffold is a temporary structure that supports access or working platforms. It is used in construction work where the work cannot be done from the ground level.

It provides a safe and stable platform for workers. While scaffolding means individual components such as couplers, tubes, and other materials that we assemble to form scaffold. Scaffolding at the workplace is done according to Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act.

When should a scaffold be inspected?

As per OSHA regulations, 29 CFR 1926.451, Scaffolding Inspection is necessary

  • After installation and before use.
  • At least every week.
  • Every time after weather conditions which can affect the construction of the scaffold.

Who can inspect scaffold?

The person who will inspect scaffold must have the necessary training, knowledge and experience. Inspection must be done by a competent, experienced and licensed person.

A competent person is the one who:

  1. Is capable of identifying hazard and working conditions which are dangerous to employees and existing and predictable hazards in the workplace.
  2. Has authorization to take prompt corrective controls to eliminate hazards and unsafe conditions.
  3. Had specific training in the structure of scaffolds, and the necessary corrective maintenance needed for them.
  4. Able to evaluate the effects of occurrences such as a dropped load and can identify and correct hazards encountered in scaffold work.
  5. Have knowledge about guardrails and fall arrest harnesses and equipment.
  6. Must have a full knowledge about erecting, disassembling,operating, moving and maintaining the scaffold, besides the main knowledge of the inspection. So he will need the same training that as erector of scaffold.

The following inspection and safety tips can increase the protection of workers at the workplace.

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Scaffold safety rules

Different steps are involved during the process of inspection. The first step is to confirm that whether construction adheres to the requirements of the design of the project. Inspection should be made in the following steps to ensure safety.

  • Whether the scaffold is stable and securely in place.
  • The level and plumb scaffold
  • Whether the scaffold is erected at a safe distance from Electricity power lines, If necessary isolate power lines.
  • What are the weight or load ratings of scaffold to support?
  • Check that all screw jacks are adjusted appropriately
  • The width of stairs & ladders is within an acceptable range and are secure
  • The gaps and openings in the scaffold are small enough, that there is no chance of falling for someone.
  • Place the appropriate number of guardrails and toe boards
  • Whether the base plates are placed on an appropriate surface
  • The correct size of sills is properly installed
  • Whether the bracing components are attached securely
  • The performance rating and grade of decking and planks are in acceptable value.
  • Whether any ties, outriggers,anchorages, and guy systems meet height to base ratio requirements
  • The scaffold must have no visible defects
  • Don’t overload the scaffold. And stick to thee designed loads.
  • Set up barriers to prevent vehicles collisions  with the scaffold base.
  • Ensure that all users of the scaffold use three point rule of contact. Which means one hand and two feet or one feet and two hands are in contact with scaffold body.

To ensure safety, one of the most important things is the training of workers. And it is secured by the law.” Any worker around scaffolding must be trained according to the 29 of OSHA’s “Safety Standards for Scaffolds Used in the Construction Industry. Additional aspects covered by the OSHA scaffold standards are below:

  • Weather conditions
  • Stilts
  • Ladders
  • Falling object protection
  • Aerial lifts

What are scaffolding tags?

Scaffolding tags are safety tags that placed onto erect scaffolding to show the safety condition of the scaffold, and show weather the scaffold is safe for use, needs safety requirements or unsafe.

After inspection, all inspected scaffolds must be marked with identified tag by the inspector. The tag should be fastened  to the access ladder or near the stairway in the eye level to be easy noticed. The tag should use a color code as follows:

  • Green for ready for use and safe.
  • Yellow for scaffolds that have been modified for work needs, has uncompleted parts or needs special requirements for safe use. This tag must not be removed until the required work done and a competent person inspect it.
  • Red tag is for unsafe for use.
Scaffolding tags
Scaffolding tags

Using the above scaffolding inspection rules regulations, we can minimize the risks of falling and other workplace accidents. We suggest the proper follow-up to ensure the health and safety of the workers at the workplace.