Why Scaffolding Inspections Are So Important

Why Scaffolding Inspections Are So Important

There’s no doubt that the construction industry can be dangerous work, with many workers sustaining injuries and fatalities each year. In the year 2012-2013, the construction industry was ranked 4th highest in the total number of injuries sustained by workers in Australia. Working at heights presents many dangers for both workers and pedestrians. Workers are susceptible to potentially fatal slips and falls, falling objects from scaffolding platforms, and the scaffolding equipment being incorrectly assembled or ill-maintained.

As an example, there was an incident in February where scaffolding collapsed onto a busy street in London due to inadequate inspections. Like any other equipment, scaffolding slowly deteriorates over time which highlights the importance of proper inspections by qualified personnel. In today’s age of advanced technology, it’s alarming that so many scaffolding injuries and fatalities still occur, so we aim to highlight the importance of one of the most important safety aspects in scaffolding: scaffolding inspections.

Why should scaffolding be inspected?

If assembled incorrectly, scaffolding equipment can be significantly weakened which presents many risks and dangers to workers and pedestrians. Scaffolding equipment is also exposed to the elements, so deterioration naturally occurs over time particularly to wooden scaffold planks.

To mitigate the risks of injuries and accidents, it’s imperative that contractors are appointed whose duty is to perform comprehensive inspections of scaffolding equipment on a regular basis. It’s important to note that only qualified personnel that have received certification through an officially recognised scaffolding training centre can conduct these inspections.

What’s involved in a scaffolding inspection?

Scaffolding inspections should be carried out on all scaffolding equipment where a person, tools, or materials could fall more than 4 metres. These inspections should take place on a regular basis, and typically consist of the following components:

  • Examining the scaffolding planks for deterioration such as cracks, holes, or any other defects
  • Ensuring that the appropriate guardrails, mid-rails, and toe boards are being used
  • Inspecting the scaffolding parameters, such as the footing, frames, posts, mudsills, and base plates
  • Making sure that the scaffolding equipment and tools are a safe distance from power lines (a minimum of 10 metres is required)
  • Checking that the correct type of scaffolding materials are being used

Scaffolding that is less than 4 metres in height should also be inspected before use and after any incident, repair, alteration, or addition.

How often should inspections take place?

There are many times during a project where scaffolding needs to be inspected to ensure it is safe and remains in good working condition. The first inspection must take place once the scaffolding has been erected. Written confirmation from a qualified contractor stating that the scaffolding has been inspected and is safe to use must be obtained before any work can commence.

Inspections must also take place:

  • After an incident has occurred that may affect the structural stability of the scaffolding
  • After scaffolding equipment has been repaired and before use
  • At least every 30 days

Scaffolding inspections is of particular importance if the scaffolding has been in place for a lengthy period of time.

What happens if scaffolding equipment fails an inspection?

If an inspection reveals that any scaffolding equipment is deemed to be a risk to the health and safety of workers, then the appropriate repairs, alterations, and additions must take place. Again, once the scaffolding has been repaired, an inspection must be conducted before the scaffolding is used again. There should be no unauthorised access to any scaffolding that is deemed at risk or incomplete.

Due to the many risks and dangers inherent in scaffolding and working at heights, it’s imperative that regular scaffolding inspections are conducted. The safety of workers is the highest priority in every industry, so any measure that can be taken to increase the safety of workers must be utilised.

Proper scaffolding inspections saves lives, so if you have any questions about scaffolding inspections or you want to find the professionals in safe scaffolding hire and sales, get in touch with the specialists at Uni-Span: https://uni-span.com.au/

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