Five Ways Scaffolding Goes Wrong

by on December 13, 2010 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Scaffolding-assembly problems remain the No. 1 cited OSHA violation. One reason: Workers tend to assemble a scaffold and forget about it. Here are the top five overlooked violations to watch out for, according to Geno Maniago, who serves as an expert witness in scaffolding-safety cases:

1. Not reassembling guardrails. Workers remove a portion of standard scaffolds’ guardrails during projects. Cranes, forklifts and aerial lifts then hoist or lift materials onto the scaffolds. Here’s what gets overlooked: After the load is in place, workers don’t re-install the guardrails right away. Sometimes the guardrails remain off for the rest of the day.

2. Pushing scaffolds. Workers remain on the platform, and either get someone to push the scaffold to a new location, or try to pull themselves along – especially if they only have to reach “an extra couple of inches” to finish what they’re doing.

3. Not using mud sills. You may recall that mud sills are the small footings that are placed under the scaffold’s baseplates to keep the structure stabilized. OSHA doesn’t always require mud sills. They’re only necessary when the scaffold rests on an unstable surface or on unstable soil, compacted/frozen soil and
compacted gravel roads.

4. Climbing cross-bracing. Workers will tend to use crossbraces as ladders, even when there are ladders to use.

5. Forgetting fall protection when required. For most projects where fall protection is a requirement, workers can either use guardrails or wear fall gear. But that’s not true when working on a suspended scaffold. Then workers will need both kinds of protection.

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