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Make sure scaffolds are constructed safely

As the owner of a construction company, you have a vested interest in keeping your crew members safe on the job site. One way to do that is to review your scaffolding safety protocols and procedures.

Below are some tips for keeping workers safer when using scaffolding on renovations and new builds.

Beware of power lines

Many construction workers assume that they can only be electrocuted if they come into contact with a power line. But electricity can arc from power lines to metal scaffolds and injure or kill all in proximity. Instruct your crews to keep themselves and their scaffolds at least 10 feet from power lines.

Keep scaffolding clear

Planking that is cluttered with tools, materials or debris is a serious risk for trips, falls and material to fall down onto those working below. Supplies and tools should be kept in caddies, buckets or toolboxes.

Also, install toe boards to contain items on the planking. Never hang tools off the railings, as this adds weight to them unnecessarily.

Start with a safe build

When assembling scaffolding, first install the casters or base jacks. Then, place cross braces on the frame before moving a second frame onto the first.

Guardrails should also be constructed to prevent workers from "walking the air." This is vital because safety harnesses aren't used on scaffolds out of fear that the entire platform can tumble down.

Keep a three-point grip at all times

Workers should be taught that whenever they are climbing scaffolds, they should "maintain a three-point grip" with both hands and a foot or both feet and a hand on the structure at all times.

Build scaffolds on even ground

An unsteady base is a scaffolding disaster waiting to happen. Use wood blocks under the legs even when using base plates to prevent the legs sinking down into soft surfaces.

Scaffolding accidents can be largely prevented

Whenever a worker is injured on a job site, it affects your company's bottom line. From workers' compensation costs to lost man-hours, these accidental injuries can slice into your profit margins. Focusing on worker safety can prevent claims and lawsuits.

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