If we have a reputable scaffold company erect scaffold for us, do our workers need any specific training/qualification to work from it?
But usual risk management approach, which according to Worksafe will include
People using the completed scaffold
should follow any special requirements outlined on the handover certificate or scaffold tag.
Common risks when working on the scaffold include:
- slips and trips on slippery surfaces, decking with trip hazards or obstructed working and access platforms
- falling through gaps in poorly constructed platforms or through unprotected openings
- using tools incorrectly, or defective or badly maintained tools
- carrying or transporting tools and materials
- hazardous substances such as asbestos and silica dust contaminating the scaffolding
- falling from the scaffold (eg due to inadequate edge protection or climbing the outside of the scaffold)
- failure of scaffold components
- scaffold collapses (eg due to overloading, unauthorised alterations, incorrect construction or design).
Standard requirements for work on a scaffold include:
- A safety helmet and appropriate safety footwear should be worn.
- Clear access of at least 450 mm should be maintained on all access and working platforms.
- The scaffold should be kept clear of rubbish and excess material. Harmful substances such as silica dust should be prevented from collecting on the scaffold.
- Inspections of the scaffold and associated equipment should be carried out regularly to ensure the scaffold is safe to use. Records of inspections should be kept.
- Tools and equipment should be in good working condition.
- Repairs and alterations should be carried out by a competent person. All scaffolds that have been repaired or altered should be inspected.
- Scaffolding that is no longer safe to use should be taken out of service immediately until repairs have been done. It should be tagged to warn people and access points should be closed off.
In addition to the common risks from Andrew, it would be useful for the Scaffold Company to advise the user of some other Good Practice guidelines Scaffolding in NZ including;
- Repairs and alterations must only be done by a competent person (skills and knowledge acquired through training, knowledge or experience - or over 5 metres must be a ticketed scaffie)
- If a scaffolding becomes damaged (i.e high winds) or non-compliant - then ladder access should be removed, Scaff tag changed to Non-compliant and Company requested to attend to rectify.
Making their own changes to get the job done after scaffolding has been competently erected (i.e. removing gates, changing deck heights) is one of the biggest risks I have seen on sites. This can be eliminated by good communication prior, so that it can be designed to fit the work required with scheduled re-visits if required.
Your own company responsibility for Scaffold users comes down to: PCBUs have a primary duty of care under HSWA to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, all persons (workers and others) are provided with any information, training, instruction or supervision needed to protect from health and safety risks arising from their work. So some form of working at heights information/training and also your company policy on PPE - if hard hats will be required.
One of my biggest bugbears when people are working on scaffolding is the use of ladders so close to the edge that it makes having a guard rail a nonsense!
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