Common Mistakes to Avoid when Erecting Scaffolding

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Erecting Scaffolding

Scaffolding is one of the most important and commonly used tools in the construction industry. It allows workers to access heights safely and efficiently. However, if scaffolding is not properly set up, it can be extremely dangerous. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 65% of all construction workers work on scaffolds. Unfortunately, scaffolding accidents are also responsible for almost 5,000 injuries and 50 fatalities each year. Therefore, it is important to know some of the most common mistakes construction workers make when setting up scaffolding and how to avoid them.

1. Not securing the base- One of the most common mistakes is not securing the base of the scaffold. This can lead to the scaffold becoming unstable and collapsing. It is important to use adjustable base plates that are securely attached to the scaffolding poles, as well as to ensure that the scaffold is level. DO NOT use scaffoling boards 2x4s or CMU Block for stabilizing the scaffold frames.

2. Overloading the scaffold- Another common mistake is overloading the scaffold. This can cause the scaffold to become unstable and collapse. Workers should never exceed the scaffold's maximum weight capacity and should always distribute the weight evenly.

Please see OSHA rules on scaffold weight limits here:

3. Not using guardrails and toeboards- Guardrails and toeboards are essential safety features that prevent falls and protect workers from potential hazards. Not using them can lead to serious injuries or even death. All scaffolds should have fully planked platforms and guardrails installed at all open sides and ends.

See OSHA regulations on toeboards and guardrails here:

4. Unsupported planks-Using unsupported planks is another mistake that can lead to serious injuries. If planks are not properly supported, they can shift, causing workers to fall. All planks should be completely supported by the scaffold frame or by brackets.

.5. Overreaching- Overreaching is a common mistake that can lead to falls from scaffolding. Workers should always ensure that they can reach where they need to go without leaning or overreaching. If they need to reach further, they should move the scaffold or use a different tool. 

6. Improper assembly- Scaffolding should always be erected, disassembled, and moved under the supervision of a competent person. Proper assembly is crucial for the safety of workers. Workers must ensure that all the components are correctly assembled, and that all the connections are secure before using the scaffold. Each time a scaffold is assembled a scaffold tag should be place in an easily seen area alerting the workers as to the condition of the scaffolding and if it is ready to be used.

Find out more on the use of scaffolding tags Here:

Setting up scaffolding is a critical operation in the construction industry. Each year, thousands of construction workers are injured in scaffolding accidents, and many are killed. Therefore, it is essential to know the most common mistakes that workers make when setting up scaffolding. Southwest Scaffolding provides high-quality scaffolding and equipment to construction companies to ensure their safety. They also provide on-site training and support to help workers avoid these common mistakes and work safely. By following the above tips, construction workers can avoid accidents, injuries, and fatalities associated with scaffolding.

May 31st 2023 Tiffany Tillema

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