The last thing you want to worry about when managing a building project is someone getting hurt. However, it happens all the time and in 2018, scaffolding accidents in the UK shot up by more than a quarter from the previous year. The sudden jump in accidents and injuries has caused a bit of a stir and now people are looking for ways to reduce the dangers of using scaffolding.
One thing that has turned up is that scaffolding prices are directly related to how safe the scaffold is. It just goes to show that it isn’t worth saving money when it results in someone getting hurt. While you can’t prevent all injuries on a construction site, you can certainly take steps to reduce them and increase the security of your workers.
After all, your workers’ safety is in your hands and you need to take every available precaution to keep them safe. Whether it’s ensuring that the scaffolding they use is safe or taking care to provide the best safety equipment, you can sleep at the end of the day knowing your people are as safe as you can make them.
Finding Safe Scaffolding Services
When you hire a company to manage your scaffolding for you, it’s important that you select the right one, or you’ll end up dealing with more injuries. Of course, some of the work falls to the construction team, since there are also safety precautions that need to be taken, but the first step is finding a company that can safely provide you with the necessary scaffolding and build it securely.
Ideally, the company you choose will offer design services. This is due to the fact that scaffolding is not a one size fits all type of structure. Depending on the shape of the building you’re working on, you may need to adjust the design of the scaffolding and the company can do this for you when they design it.
You should also look at reviews for the company and even go so far as to talk to previous clients. You can learn a lot from these two steps and it will also give you a good idea of how safe the company is. There won’t be many good reviews if their material is low quality and the workmanship iffy.
Another way to tell if a company is worth hiring is looking at their existing scaffolding. You can ask to see a current project, or, if that’s not possible, take a look at their materials. You should quickly be able to tell if they are using high quality materials or shoddy ones that will require repair or replacement before they are safe.
Your chosen company should also include trained employees, which will be evident in their certificates. Not only does this prove they have the knowledge and practice, it will also help that they know the rules. Finally, ensure that the company offers insurance in case anything happens while you are using their structures and materials.
Avoid any company that doesn’t use up to date materials and that doesn’t have the necessary certificates.
Scaffolding Companies: Pricing Matters
Obviously, you don’t want to overpay for scaffolding services, but cheap scaffolding can end up costing far more than you might expect. Just think about what would happen if you had to pay all the costs associated with an injury or death from a scaffold platform. It will end up costing far more.
That’s not to say that pricing doesn’t matter. You do want to avoid going with the cheapest scaffolding contractors, because they’re cheap for a reason. The main reason scaffold rental costs so much is because it’s not just about the materials used. There are a lot of factors that go into that price. In effect, you are paying for:
Education and training: A good scaffolding company will ensure that their workers are up to date with the latest information on building scaffolding. Training doesn’t come cheap. At least, not if it’s training that is worth taking. The education that a scaffolder has is reflected in the price of their services.
Certification: Ideally, the people you hire to handle your scaffolding needs will have certifications proving that they took the courses and are well-trained in what they have to do. This is the best way to tell if your scaffolding company really knows what they’re doing.
Safety: Security costs money. Not just because it’s secure, but because the company needs to frequently inspect their products, update any pieces that are subpar, and provide safe transport for everything. In short, it costs money to maintain the equipment and ensure it stays secure.
Experience: The scaffolding company you work with should have the experience necessary to build sturdy scaffolding every time that is safe and secure. The more years of experience they have, the better.
Design: Ideally, the company will be able to create a design based around the building you are working on. This will cost more, but it also ensures that you have the right scaffolding for the job. This means that the base will be more secure, as well. You also need special designs if you have a high risk area to build in, sloped land, power cables, or higher than usual buildings, as well as other security concerns. Each of these will require a special design to ensure stability and worker safety.
All of these qualifications come at a price. You can certainly save money if you like, but you will see that the price isn’t really worth it. The end result is a scaffolding that isn’t secure or safe. Do you really want to save that money when you could be risking the lives of your workers? It’s just not worth it to save a few pounds. Instead, pay for the experience and training and rest assured that you’ve hired the best company possible for the job.
Scaffolder Safety: Steps to Take
Of course, the entire safety of your workers doesn’t depend on the scaffolder company. You’ll need to take certain safety precautions, as well. These include making sure that your workers are well versed in how to use the scaffolding and how to ensure their own safety.
Nearly half of all accidents on scaffoldings occur from tripping or falling while on the platform. These don’t include falls from the platform to the ground, but just those on the actual platform. While not usually fatal, these can result in injury and days off work. However, falls like this are usually preventable.
First, you’ll need to make sure your workers are wearing boots with a nonslip sole. Second, you need to make sure the platform is not wet or overly slippery. This should help prevent many of the falls.
It’s also a good idea to have a harness for those working higher up. It can help prevent higher falls from the actual platform. You should also have safety training for those who are working on platforms and a guardrail to help prevent any falls over the side. It’s also a good idea to avoid leaving anything lying on the floor of the platform. It’s so easy to accidentally trip over a hammer that is lying on the platform and this could result in a major injury.
One big issue with scaffolding doesn’t have to do with workers falling, but with tools and materials tumbling off the platform. These falling items could potentially injure someone below on the ground. To help prevent this, keep only the tools you actually need to use on the platform. You can also tether anything that could be prone to falling to the ground. Watch for materials and tools, alike, and be careful where you put your feet.
Your scaffolding should also be inspected on a regular basis. There are many little things that can affect the overall safety of the structure. Even one loose bolt could cause damage that is lasting. Many scaffolding companies also offer inspection services and will come to the build site to check out the structure and to check that everything is stable and held together as it should be.
Since things can shift around as the scaffolding is in use, it’s particularly important to check the platforms and supports every few days. Other factors that can affect stability include traffic nearby and heavy machinery which could vibrate the structure and cause it to break down.
Are you looking for a scaffolding company that offers security and regular inspections? Contact us today for a quote on your project.