It’s so important to choose the right scaffolding. Why? Beyond anything else, safety. Choosing a secure and appropriate system for the project minimizes the risk of harm to workers. This not only means less injuries, and compensation claims, but is vital for productivity and the success of the project.
Scaffolding is a temporary structure put up to support construction, maintenance and repair of buildings. This often means working at dangerous heights above the ground, with heavy objects, and in situations where things can very wrong very quickly…
It’s hence crucial to put your support together with precision, ensuring as you go that there are no defective parts.
With safety and productivity as two great incentives to choose the right temporary structure for the project, the next question is, how?
Today you there are many different frames, and many different materials from which these are made. Here are some common ones to get you started…
A single-pole scaffolding is a bricklayer’s best friend. It’s one of the most basic types consisting of vertical ‘standards’ that are fixed to the ground, parallel to the building wall, and supported by braces.
Or mason’s scaffolding, has two rows of standards giving it extra sturdiness.
Sitting 5 metres or under in height, this is a compact, mobile yet stable set-up, ideal for small projects at home or quick paint jobs.
Made from steel, this is an easy one to put together and dismantle. It can be flat-packed and comes in handy when you need to move the scaffolding around to different spots. It’s flexible, sturdy and safe, easy to use, and can support many workers at once meaning it can boost productivity.
- Needle beam
Where (true to the name) the platform is suspended from needles that are supported from the floor. Can be handy for upper wall constructions or beside busy streets.
Scaffolding these days is typically made from steel, but can also be made from bamboo or timber.
So, which type do you choose? Here is a list things you can ask yourself before deciding which is best for your project…
- The type of job – what do you need it for? Building versus roof work have different requirements. Is it a job that will need something sturdy? Something flexible that can be easily moved around for different tasks?
- The heights you are working at – is it a single or multi-storey building? Do you need upper-wall support, or even suspension? The most common work-related injury in this area are falls, so be sure to get a measure of the heights you’ll be working at.
- Where the project will take place – this can drastically alter your choice. The type of scaffolding used for a project inside your home will be very different to that of a bridge pylon beside a busy road.
- The weights that will need support – this includes items, and how many workers you will need the scaffolding to support at one time.
As mentioned above, the most essential thing above any of these factors, is to find the safest kind of platform for the job. It is mandatory to perform a risk assessment, check for defects in parts, and ensure it’s assembled correctly.
Additional safety measures you need to take…
- Adequate guardrails included in the design
- Sturdy platforms
- Stabilizers for the tower
- Safe clearance between rungs and slip-resistance surfaces
- Head protective gear and harnesses (check they aren’t loose)
Finally, in the interest of safety and productivity, if you are having any issues big or small in working toward a decision, don’t hesitate to consult an expert.