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Scaffolding: A serious risk to workers and pedestrians

One of the things that people who work in construction come across is scaffolding. Scaffolding is extremely important to the industry, as it provides a safe platform for workers. However, if scaffolding isn't set up properly, there's a high risk of falls and other accidents.

It's important for workers to stay safe, and the best way to do that is to know how to work securely on scaffolding. Here are a few tips to help keep your work environment hazard-free.

1. Get qualified support during training

Everyone who is going to use scaffolds during their work should understand how scaffolding is put together, taken apart and secured. Don't just pass this information on from worker to worker. Instead, make sure everyone is properly trained by a qualified safety professional. Training needs to include the best ways to handle and use the scaffolding, the load capacity of scaffolding and how to handle materials when on scaffolding.

2. Understand the risks up front

When workers know the real risks of working on scaffolding, they're less likely to become too relaxed. For instance, since scaffolding is typically made from metal, there's a risk of electrocution should electricity come into contact with the scaffold. Likewise, a worker who is not tethered could fall and get severely hurt or die. Understanding these potentially life-threatening hazards is key to keeping workers safe.

3. Know the reality of fall hazards

It's not just the risk of falling off a scaffold that workers have to worry about. Items that fall could also injure or kill others. For instance, if you drop a hammer from 30 feet in the air and hit a pedestrian, there's a high risk that he or she could suffer a concussion or worse. Understand the importance of tethering your tools and monitoring your equipment.

4. Be prepared for the weather

While scaffolding has its uses and could help you reach heights at any time of year, you should never use it when it's slick, wet, icy or muddy. Remove any kind of slick materials before you use a scaffold. In fact, it's best if you avoid using a scaffold in poor weather, especially if there are strong winds.

Scaffolds pose a serious risk to workers and those around a work site. Be prepared for the risks, and make sure that everyone you work with has the right training and outlook to stay safe while on the job.

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