Leaning Tower of Scaffolding by Alex Edwards
From my experiences, eight out of ten scaffolds are built improperly. It might just be me, but if I’m standing on a built structure, I want it to be structurally sound. This doesn’t seem to be the case when I conduct job site audits. The scaffold I encounter are like LEGO structures built by a 3-year-old; wobbly, parts forced together, and incomplete.
Each year over 4,500 construction workers suffer injuries from scaffold accidents, and over sixty workers die. Most causes of injuries are due to planking or supports which fail, falling, or being hit by falling objects. These things are a direct correlation to the absence of training. Even though lack of training is a huge leading indicator to scaffold accidents, another issue that can damage or destroy scaffolding is the environment.
The environment is a never-ending battle in the construction industry. Scaffolding over time becomes subjected to extreme weather such as heat, cold and participation. This can cause scaffold equipment to develop rust and imperfections making the scaffolding weak.
OSHA outlines nicely what training requirements are required for someone who performs work while on a scaffold or who is erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, maintaining, or inspecting scaffolds. They can be found at osha.gov. Training in these topics can greatly reduce the chances of scaffolding failing causing injury or death.