So far in 2020, there have been many news stories of people being seriously injured after falling off scaffolding. Some scaffolding collapses are caused by high winds; other collapses may be caused by improper setup or other hazards. No matter the cause, people who must work on scaffolds should exercise utmost precautions to stay safe on the job.
Tips to help you stay safe
Knowing how dangerous scaffold work can be, it’s prudent to take precautions. Here are a few suggestions:
- Wear proper work clothes – your work boots and attire may never be more important than when you are working in risky conditions high off the ground. Sturdy shoes with good tread on the soles could save your life.
- Be aware of tripping hazards – Pick up tools and keep work area clear of debris.
- Watch the weather – Strong winds and storms can play a role in creating dangerous work conditions where you could lose your balance, or the scaffolding could become unsteady.
- Understand guardrails – Guardrails going awry is one of the leading causes of scaffolding accidents. If someone is working on a scaffold 10 feet or more above a lower level, guardrails must be used.
- Check your safety harness – When working on a scaffold, you need to have a fall-arrest system. Are you wearing your safety harness? And is it installed and connected properly and in good working condition?
Don’t be a statistic
The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reported an increase in fatal falls of 26% over a six-year period from the years 2011 to 2016. The top industry for these falls was construction. In the construction industry, the increase in fatal falls was much worse at 45% than in other industries.
Taking extra precautions when working on scaffolds could keep you from being injured, and it could also save your life.