Before discussing which scaffolding materials are the safest, it is important that you gain an understanding of what scaffold products actually are. Very simply put, scaffolds are temporary constructions used so that laborers and workers are able to reach the heights of the building they are working for. These tools are essential when working at a height, particularly if there is no other ground access.
Scaffolding is a necessary tool, particularly when you consider how much construction is going on all around us. However, just because they are so common, does not mean they are also completely safe. Scaffolding safety depends on a number of different things, including:
- The quality of the scaffolding tubes, frames, and boards.
- The ability of workers to understand the safety procedures associated with working on scaffold towers.
- The leadership qualities of managers and their commitment to keeping their workers safe.
It is absolutely vital, in other words, that all guidelines provided in the scaffold user guide are followed to the letter. However, the company that uses the scaffold, as well as the workers themselves, have an equal responsibility to maintain their safety. It is hugely important, in other words, that everybody takes responsibility for safety, and to take the inherent dangers associated with scaffolding very seriously.
Managers should make sure that all safety procedures are followed at all times. This can help to prevent avoidable accidents, thereby saving the lives of not just their workers, but also passersby. Maintaining this safety starts by fully understanding what the different elements of scaffolding are, and safety checking these regularly.
The Basic Components of Scaffolding Towers
The basic components of a scaffold, which all have to be check regularly, are:
- The boards.
- The joint pins.
- The couplers.
- The tubes.
Depending on the manufacturer you have chosen to work with, you can expect things like:
- Pressed-fittings and drop forged couples.
- Japanese, European, and British standard tubes.
- Solid base and hollow jacks.
- Unit beams.
- Ladder beams.
- System scaffolding.
- Lashing wire.
Did you know that 65% of the working time of a construction worker is spent on scaffolding? This is because it is found virtually everywhere. The Guinness World Record for scaffolding is held by the renovation project on the Statue of Liberty, an absolutely terrifying piece of work. However, China and Hong Kong both claim that they have built scaffolding towers much higher than those, but simply haven’t informed the record keepers of this. They claim that their skyscrapers were all constructed using scaffolding, which should give you an idea of just how high these things can go, and how dangerous they actually are.
Scaffolding is not just useful, it is essential in the construction industry. But it is important to have a healthy fear of these towers as well, as this ensures they stay as safe as they possibly can be. Unfortunately, when something does go wrong with scaffolding, it generally goes horribly wrong, and that must be avoided.