A scaffold is a temporary structure that is constructed to provide either support or access to working platforms. It is commonly used on construction sites to ensure that construction workers have a safe and stable platform on which they can work. Erecting a scaffold is an integral part of any building construction. This is because of the numerous benefits it provides the building constructors. If you are new to scaffolding in Sydney, there are two important terms you should know:
- Scaffolding: This term refers to the individual components, such as tubes, couples, frames, or materials that are put together to form a scaffold.
- Scaffolding work: This refers to the process of erecting, altering, or dismantling a scaffold. Before an individual can undertake a scaffolding work, he or she must possess the appropriate license that certifies they can handle such a high-risk job.
To erect a Sydney scaffolding, you need to hire a scaffolding company, Sydney. In a bid to ensure a job well done, scaffolding companies Sydney divide their workers into two groups with each group having specific responsibilities. These groups are:
- designers, who design the scaffolds and
- scaffolding contractors and workers, who assemble it.
Regardless of the group you belong to or whether or not you belong in one, you have to ensure your safety. More than that, you have to ensure the safety of your workers. To do this, there are certain steps you must take to enable you to properly manage risks while scaffolding in Sydney. Read on to learn more.
How to Manage Risks in Scaffolding
To prevent being exposed to health or safety hazards during scaffolding works, adhere to the following steps:
Step One: Identify the Possible Cause of Hazards
If you can identify the cause of the hazard, you can either eliminate it or reduce the risk of becoming its victim. To do this, you have to:
- Carefully observe the work site where scaffolds are used or where scaffolding work is being executed. Also, observe locations where vehicles, pedestrians, and fixed structures interact.
- Secondly, observe certain factors in the environment where the scaffold is to be used, such as the ground conditions.
- Thirdly, identify the primary functions that the scaffold is intended to serve. These include the maximum live and dead loads as well as access requirements.
- Then, inspect the scaffolding before and after you put it to use.
- Afterwards, inquire from your workers if they encountered any difficulty while interacting with the scaffolds and scaffolding work. Also, ask about the problems they expect to face when they work on or with these temporary structures. Endeavor to consider all sections of the construction work, including repair, inspection, operation, maintenance, transport, and storage, among others.
- Inspect the already erected scaffold.
- Finally, review all the incident and injury records, including close shaves.
Step Two: Assess the Risk
In certain situations, the most appropriate control measure for the risks involved will be easy to determine. In other cases, however, you have to conduct a risk assessment that will enable you to identify certain things. These include the potential of someone falling victim to the risks and dangers and the impact of the damage caused.
With a risk assessment, it will be easier to determine the action to take to control the risk and its associated urgency.
Step Three: Endeavor to Control the Risk
For a construction undertaking to be considered safe, all the elements of risks associated with it has to be completely eliminated or hugely minimized. Several methods are involved in successfully controlling these risks and they are ranked according to the level of protection and reliability. Bear in mind that these levels are ordered from highest to lowest, and they are generally referred to as hierarchy of rank control.
To manage risks and achieve a truly safe workplace, you have to work through the hierarchy of rank control. This involves the following:
- First, consider the possibility of completely eliminating all existing hazards in the workplace. For instance, you can remove all traces of risks by working at ground level or on completed floors of a building. If there are, however, no practicable reasons to completely remove all the risks in the workspace, then consider the following options. Bear in mind that these options are presented in an order that aims to minimize risks:
- replace the hazardous objects with safer options. For example, use mechanical aid like hoists, trolleys, cranes to transport equipment and materials when possible. The more hazardous option in this situation would be to use manually lifting scaffolding.
- isolate the hazard from people. This includes installing concrete barriers that would separate pedestrians and powered mobile plants from scaffolds among others. The purpose of this example is to minimize the risk of collision.
- use engineering controls. These include toeboards, perimeter containment sheeting, overhead protective structures, etc. These objects aim to prevent objects from falling and hitting workers or people below the work area.
- If the dangers persist after you implement the control measures above, minimize the remaining risk by using the controls below:
- use administering controls. An example of this is to store scaffolding as close as reasonably possible to work area. This will enable workers to reduce the distance over which they have to manually move the loads.
- use personal protective equipment (PPE). These include hard hats, high visibility vests, and protective hand and footwear, among others.
It is important to note that the controls mentioned above might not be effective if they are not used combined. However, not all of the aforementioned measures has to be used. To decide on the best control measures for your work area, it is recommended that you consider whether or not they can be reasonably practiced. To determine what is reasonably practicable, you have to consider the availability and suitability of control measures.
Step Four: Always Check Your Control Measures
Control measures are vital to working safely on scaffolding in Sydney. As such, they have to always be in place to guarantee the safety of workers. One effective method of ensuring that the control measures you select works as planned is to regularly check on them. By constantly reviewing them, you not only ensure that they remain effective, you also stay abreast of every considerable change. In addition, it provides you with a know-how of the nature and duration of work among others.
If you can endeavor to adhere with each step the aforementioned control measures, your Sydney scaffolding will remain safe and healthy. This will not only enable you and your workers to work more efficiently, it will also reduce the cost of scaffolding Sydney.