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This subject of this blog ” Hazards of scaffolding or Scaffolding Hazards” is very relevant in today’s construction industry. Because, controlling the scaffolding hazards are very important to reduce or eliminate the accidents related to scaffolding. Also, legal requirements demands it. In this blog, we will list out all major common hazards of scaffolding and ladder. In addition, we will consider hazards of scaffolding and ladder separately also. Along with the hazards, we will describe briefly about the related control measure to mitigate the hazards. This blog is not only about the scaffolding in UAE, but applicable for all the scaffolding anywhere in the world.
For Scaffolding and Ladder : Fall of persons or fall of material from height – which can cause Disability , fatality or serious injury. This is the main hazards of scaffolding and ladder while carrying out works on scaffolding.
For Scaffolding : Collapse of working platform through overloading – which can cause disability, Head injuries, Body injuries and fatalities. Even though this does not happen on daily basis, this hazard of scaffolding has high potential for accident.
Also, the collapse of entire scaffolding structure : This can lead to major injuries or fatalities . This hazard of scaffolding happen , especially, if the safe method not followed during construction and dismantling.
For Ladders : Collapse or slipping of ladder is another main type of hazard of ladder.
The following are various hazards of scaffolding:
We shall follow safe working procedure while erecting scaffolding. Otherwise, the scaffolding can collapse during installation. Or, the scaffolders may fall down to cause injury. So, activity “erection of scaffolding “ is a hazard. An incorrectly built scaffold runs a risk of collapse. If your scaffolding work is in UAE, it is always advisable to appoint a specialised scaffolding company in UAE.
This activity is very dangerous. Because, if we dismantle scaffolding in a wrong way, it can collapse. For example , removing all bracing completely before the removal of other components , removal of scaffolding tie…etc. So, improper way of scaffolding dismantling is a main hazard.
The guard rails helps to safeguard the workers from falling. So, lack of guardrail is another scaffolding hazard which cause the fall of workers.
sufficient bracing is a requirement for the stability of scaffolding. Definitely, the insufficient bracing can contribute for the scaffolding collapse.
Proper safe access and egress shall be available to reach to the platform. Otherwise, workers will try to climb on the scaffolding through unsafe way. This can lead to accident. So, lack of proper access /egress arrangement is a hazard.
The access ladder to secure properly to make it stable. Otherwise, ladder can slip and fall causing injury.
If there is any gap at the platform, the worker may falls through this. So, the platform shall be without any gap. In other words, with full boarded platform. In the same way, The platform needs supports from bottom to avoid collapse.
Several accidents happen due to the collapse of scaffolding platform. The main reason for this is overloading of platform due to excess materials. So, this is a scaffolding hazard or called as hazard of scaffolding, which can cause injury.
If the scaffolding structure not secured to the permanent structure , it may collapse. This can cause major injuries and fatalities . So, always secure scaffolding firmly to eliminate this scaffolding hazard.
Even though we take precautions to avoid fall of objects, still there are chances to happen it. This scaffolding hazard has high potential to cause major injuries including fatalities. For example, Items dropped from higher elevations could injure those on lower platforms or on the ground.
Scaffolds built near to powerlines put the workers at the risk of electric shock. So, scaffolding erected near to electric power lines is a major scaffolding hazard. As per scaffolding legal requirements in UAE, a distance of ten feet clearance required between scaffold and powerlines.
Moving or pushing a mobile scaffolding while workers on the scaffolding is very dangerous. Because, if we move scaffolding like this, it can collapse to cause accidents.
Please note that hazards and risks explained in this blog is not the full list. The author not responsible for any exclusions. However, this blog will definitely give you an idea about the general hazards of scaffolding and ladder. But, the control measures not included in this blog. You need to refer to risk assessment prior to undertaking scaffolding works. When you assign scaffolding works to a scaffolding contractor in UAE, they take care of risk assessment too.
When we talk about the hazards of ladder, it is better to consider it under the three main headings
When it comes to safety, choosing the right tool is a basic requirement. Of course, this is true about ladders too. For example, if you choose a metallic ladder for electrical works, it is dangerous. It can cause electric shock. So, selecting a wrong ladder for the works is a hazard of ladder. Similarly, choosing correct length of ladder, weight , load capacity…etc are also important
If we use damaged or defective ladders, it can collapse anytime causing injury. In general, each equipment has a shelf life, including ladders. Defective ladders can also cause fall of worker without collapse of ladder. For instance, consider the case of a defective rung of a ladder . When the worker steps onto a defective rung , the rung may break . As a result, the user may fall down. So, this hazard of ladder is important to consider.
Incorrect placement of ladder is also a main ladder hazard. I can give few of the following examples for the incorrect placement of ladder.
The author has included all major hazards of scaffolding and ladder for the interest of reader. However, in actual practice, there may be many other additional hazards depending on the situation or types of work. So, you may need to conduct detailed risk assessment of scaffolding before start the job.