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Safety essentials when using scaffolding

There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you are working at heights, scaffolding can be a particularly dangerous structure to work on and safety is of paramount importance. Despite the dangers, scaffolding can be safe if all people involved know the rules and adhere to them; here are a few tips on safety procedures that must be followed to ensure a safe workplace.

* Make sure everyone is properly trained. Training consists of showing workers how to get on and off scaffolding in Edinburgh safely. The safe way is to use a ladder, not the scaffold structure unless the design of the frame is such that a climbing structure is built in. When climbing both hands must be free for the rungs. Fall protection must be used during the erection and dismantling of the scaffold.

* Take time for the preparation. Make sure the base on which the scaffold will rest is sound and level and the scaffold uprights will maintain a true vertical attitude. As the system is erected assure that all braces are in place and any locking devices are secure. Stay well clear of overhead wires and other obstructions. If it is unavoidable to be near wires, use fibreglass tubes and not metal tubes.

* Respect the load capacity. One of the top reasons for scaffold failure is overloading. Do not allow more workers or material on the scaffold that it can comfortably take. Know what the load capacity is and let the workforce know as well, never rest anything on the guardrails.

* Secure the scaffold to the building. Scaffolding in Edinburgh must be braced against or tied to the building in some fashion. Scaffolds that are wrapped in a tarpaulin may very well topple in a high wind. There are several methods of locking for scaffolds, nailing it to the building is not one of them, this is very hazardous.

* Use guardrails and toe boards. The three sides of the scaffolding tower must be guarded by handrails and all four sides must be fitted with toe boards. The handrail must have three rails and in the event a rail or a section is removed to easily hoist materials, they must be replaced instantly. Guard rails are for people, toe boards are for tools and material, and both pose danger if they fall.

* Inspect and maintain. During the construction phase the scaffolding must be routinely inspected, preferably by a qualified safety engineer. Connecting pins, plates, trusses and braces may be damaged or come loose, components may weaken from corrosion and lifting apparatus may have damage to the cable.

* Keep it clean. Never allow an accumulation of building scraps and rubble to accumulate on the decking. Keep the area clean and stack the material properly. There is limited room on a scaffold so it must be kept free from obstructions.

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