On site scaffolding: Our top tips for improving site safety

15 Jul 2016

GillianRossGillian Ross, CIF Specialist Contracting Executive, discusses the latest Health and Safety Authority alert for scaffolding, how to correctly inspect your site components, and how to minimise damage occurring in the first place.

The HSA and the National Association of Scaffolding and Access Contractors have issued a safety alert to workplaces about scaffolding components.  We’re reminding people that corroded and rusting scaffolding components can lead to serious issues with its structural integrity and can lead to catastrophic failures and collapses.  Ensuring scaffolding is free from rust and corrosion is an essential way to reduce the chances of a workplace accident and increase employee safety.  

Non-galvanised scaffolding systems are prone to rusting and on wedge-type painted steel scaffolding systems common in Ireland.  So ensure you examine and maintain them regularly.  Here are our top tips for maintaining safe scaffolding.

1. Put in place a thorough inspection routine that focusses particularly on scaffold that has recently come out of storage.

2. Make sure a competent person inspects scaffolding components and their condition continually as part of the scaffolding inspection routine.

3. Your regular inspection regime should involve:

• an initial clearing away of any surface rust
• a visual inspection to identify corrosion, rust and pitting
• watch out for a loss of weight of the scaffolding
• inspect the thickness in the tube wall for any loss in density
• identify any corrosion around welds and inner tubes 

4. You should do this inspection every-time scaffolding is taken out of storage and then on a regular basis after this. 

5. If you find any irregularities, you should contact an expert to fix the problem as soon as possible and remove the damaged components from the site. 

6. Do not leave damaged components lying around and clearly mark them as damaged so they are not recycled into your scaffolding accidently. 

7. Sand blasting and painting only, while reducing further deterioration, does not repair damaged components and may actually hide damage.

8. The manufacturer’s manual for all system scaffolds must be available when erecting, modifying and dismantling scaffolds. This should also inform the user in relation to maintaining the scaffold in good working order.

The National Association of Scaffolding and Access Contractors can provide the safe installation of scaffolding for your project.  Please see a full list of contractors here – List of contractors

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