Scaffolds are essential on a construction site for fall prevention. Scaffolding services are necessary for a multitude of reasons, but there are risks involved in scaffolding that requires constant inspections. The role of a scaffolding inspector is to ensure that employers are held accountable for safeguarding the health and safety of the workers on a premise. In this article, we’re going to outline everything you need to understand about scaffolding inspections, as well as the necessary hazards and laws involved in erecting a scaffold.
Who is Responsible for a Scaffolding Inspection?
First and foremost, it’s important to note that it’s the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the workers on a premise are safe to work. Should an employer fail to provide workers with a safe environment can lead to substantial fines and even imprisonment. A scaffolding inspector must have the relevant training and qualifications in the field to be certified to carry out the inspection.
What Does the Law Say About Scaffolding Inspections?
Under Australia’s strict Workplace Health and Safety measures, there are a myriad of laws set in place surrounding scaffolding to ensure that workers are kept safe. For any scaffolds that are above 4 metres in height, regular 30 day inspections are required to take place to ensure that there are no hazards. Unless there is written confirmation from the scaffold inspector, a scaffold is off-limits for workers. This is to ensure that workers are kept safe. If it is found that a scaffold poses a threat to health and safety, all necessary repairs are required to take place before it can be used again. If you’re looking for more information on Australia’s laws surrounding scaffolding, we advise you visit Safe Work Australia’s website for relevant information.
What Are the Key Hazards Involved in Erecting a Scaffolding?
When a scaffolding inspector comes to inspect your scaffold, they are primarily keeping an eye out for any potential hazards. The purpose of their inspection is to ensure that the occupants of the construction site are protected under Australia’s Workplace Health and Safety, so that incidents that can be avoided do not occur, or the people responsible for these incidents are held accountable. A few key hazards the inspector will be looking out for are:
- Structural integrity – If there are any unsupported frames on the ground level, the scaffold runs the risk of collapsing. A few common cases are when castor wheels aren’t correctly locked in place, or the foundations are not level.
- Power lines – for aluminium frames, the risk of power lines hanging too closely to the scaffold has the potential to electrocution. Some of the most common things an inspector looks out for when assessing power safety is whether or not the earth leakage switch has been installed, if live power lines are hanging too closely or if the relevant insulation is in place during the case of weather conditions.
- Integrity of platforms – although the foundations of a scaffold may be secure, if each individual platform is not secure then occupants run the risk of slipping or falling. It’s important to remember that the scaffold must be off limits until there is written confirmation from a scaffold inspector that it’s safe to use.
How Often Do Scaffolds Need to Be Inspected?
After a scaffold has been erected, if it is over 4 metres in height, it must be inspected at a minimum once every 30 days after being installed. Should an inspector find an issue with the scaffold during their inspection, it’s imperative that access is restricted immediately. Until written confirmation that the issue has been rectified has been administered, the scaffold is off-limits.
What Are a Few Things I Can Do to Mitigate Scaffolding Risks?
If you’re working in the scaffolding industry, it’s expected that you have the relevant legal training to be able to handle the tasks at hand. However, sometimes it can be easy to overlook basic yet essential principles in ensuring the safety of a scaffold is absolute. Here’s a few things you should keep in mind:
- Plan ahead – Not all jobs are the same. Some scaffolds need to be erected on a slope, or over a garden bed. In any case, planning ahead is critical. One of the most crucial things you need to keep an eye out for in your planning phase is any overhanging power lines. Not only that, you need to consider how weather conditions may vary. For example, if the wind were to blow, would an overhanging power lines swing into your scaffold?
- Ensure your employees are fully trained – All employees that are in the scaffolding industry are required to undergo the necessary training involved in the entire process of scaffolding services. However, your job as an employer doesn’t stop there. Although they may have the foundational training, it’s your responsibility to keep your workers fully informed and aware of every stage of the process, as well as any potential hazards they need to keep their eyes peeled for.
- Crosscheck your scaffold – Whether it be the structural integrity of the ground level of your scaffold, or whether the castor wheels are properly locked in place, you should make it a habit to routinely inspect the scaffold every day before your workers are permitted to go ahead for the day.
- Constantly monitor the guardrails – In addition to the structural integrity, you also need to ensure that the guardrails at every level are secured.
Where Can I Go For More Information on Scaffolding Inspections?
If you didn’t find the information you require in this article, you may want to consider visiting ‘Safe Work Australia’ to read up on the relevant legislation. By reading up on the law, as instituted by the government, you will be able to protect yourself in the case of an incident where multiple stakeholders are in disagreement. Alternatively, you may want to consider calling your local scaffolding services for advice. If you’re looking for competent Brisbane scaffold hire companies, you should consider reaching out to Quikscaff. When you give them a call, they’ll be able to provide you with the relevant information you need on scaffolding inspections.