Take safety to new heights
Stay safe by using scaffolds for their intended purposes and taking all precautions
Using a perfectly built scaffold, but not for its intended purpose, is a safety hazard.
Contractors usually build scaffolds based on its purpose.
A scaffold made for ceiling work is lightweight, but if someone places heavy machinery on it, the scaffold could collapse.
A scaffold of the wrong height is also dangerous because workers are more likely to stand on the guardrails to get to their desired height.
These are some of the common risks that users of scaffolds most often do not know about, said Mr Jonathan Wan, council member of the Access and Scaffold Industry Association.
He said: "The contractors erect scaffolds for a particular purpose. But when it does not match with how workers use them, safety is compromised.
"All users should use scaffolds responsibly. Sometimes, workers tend to take out guardrails because they hinder their work, and they don't put them back.
The contractors erect scaffolds for a particular purpose. But when it does not match with how workers use them, safety is compromised.Mr Jonathan Wan, council member of the Access and Scaffold Industry Association
"This could pose a safety hazard to others and to themselves."
Before working at heights, risk control measures should be carried out to prevent accidents.
In 2015, three workers and a supervisor were tasked to install signs on a wall.
All four were standing on a concrete beam while installing brackets at a facade wall located on the eighth storey.
The supervisor fell 7.4m off the beam and landed on the floor slab. He died due to multiple injuries.
The main contractor was fined $230,000 for failing to take adequate safety measures.
To prevent similar accidents from happening, contractors should be aware of these risk control measures.
FALL PREVENTION PLAN (FPP)
This is a site-specific plan that aims to eliminate or reduce the risk of falling from heights by ensuring that all reasonable fall protection measures and methods have been taken prior to the commencement of the work.
This includes components such as risk management, risk control measures, and training.
The permit-to-work system is a formal documented process used to manage work identified as potentially hazardous.
It is required for work at heights where a person could fall from a height of more than 3m.
Workers should be trained and competent to carry out any work at height activities, and they should be familiar with the hazards associated with the work at height and the necessary precautionary measures.The public can also look out for proper edge protection set-ups on scaffolds.
Open sides should be adequately guarded to prevent workers from falling.
For every open side where a person is liable to fall, guardrails or barriers must be installed to prevent a fall.
On every scaffold, there should be an uppermost guardrail, and intermediate guardrail, as well as a toeboard - a board perpendicular to the edge of the work platform.
The space between the uppermost guardrail and the intermediate guardrail cannot be more than 60cm, and the toeboard cannot be lower than 9cm.
Tower scaffolds, which are mobile scaffolds equipped with wheels, should also have the three measures as stated above.
What are tower scaffolds?
Tower scaffolds are a form of scaffolding that usually consists of fabricated frame units constructed as single-
A tower scaffold that is fitted with castor wheels with effective locking devices is a mobile tower scaffold.
When using a mobile scaffold, the following rules should be strictly observed:
- Prior to moving it, the route must be checked for power lines, overhead obstructions and for holes and uneven surfaces on the ground.
- When necessary to deploy tower scaffolds on an inclined surface, measures must be taken to ensure stability, such as use of outriggers. If not, tower scaffolds should not be used on an inclined surface.
- Never access the scaffold until all its castors are locked to prevent movement.
- Never move the scaffold when someone is on it.
- Do not cover the scaffold with containment sheeting unless it has been designed for the purpose and it is only used in an enclosed, windprotected environment.
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