When it comes to working on scaffolding, it can be rewarding – the job is mainly outdoors, the views can be great and you get to watch a building project progress first-hand. However, working at height can be dangerous and there are many health and safety issues that come with working with scaffolding.
In this blog, we explore some health and safety tips for working at height on scaffolding and its high towers, particularly when working during the autumn and winter months of the year. With the high temperatures of summer gradually transforming into cold and grey, there are things you need to be aware of when working in autumn and winter months.
Although the UK experiences wind and rain all times of the year, during the winter months, the weather is a lot worse and the risks are heightened. Poor weather conditions can seriously impact the productivity of your workforce and could potentially harm scaffolders also. From heavy rain and wind to snow and frost, the wet and cold could result in illness and inability to work. Ensure you have a sheltered and warm space for your employees to rest and relax, allow frequent breaks and ensure all are wearing PPE, including waterproof and thermal clothing.
When the temperatures start to drop around November and December onwards, metal structures including scaffolding will start to freeze over. Metal already has properties of coldness, so in winter, this will be 10 times worse. Make sure you always wear gloves when handling ice-cold scaffolding or climbing metal ladders. When the rain falls also, be aware of water freezing on the wooden platforms of the towers – any icy slips could result in a serious fall from a height. Consider installing slip-resistant boards, implementing harnesses to your workforce along with boots that are grippy, and consider sprinkling your boards with salt to melt icy surfaces quickly.
Autumn sees the beginning of darker evenings. Where summer months boast sun and light from 4am until 9pm, the latter months of the year see low light, with the sun coming up as late as 8-9am and tucking away at 4pm. Working in low light can strain a worker’s eyes, meaning their eyesight suffers and they’re more likely to make mistakes that could harm them or others. Consider putting outdoor lights on your structures where you can or else add head torches to worker’s helmets and implement breaks to rest the eyes.
During the autumn and winter months, scaffolding companies should consider increasing the number of safety checks and inspections to correlate with the increased risk. For professional and expert checks and inspections, consider DH Scaffold Services to do the job for you to ensure high-quality and safe scaffolding services. Visit our website today for more information.