Why Are Scaffolds Used On Construction Sites If They Are So Dangerous?

The image of a construction site that comes to mind is probably going to be of a partially completed building with several people spanning a tower steel structure. One of the most well-known components of every architectural project is this framework, often known as scaffolding, but why is this component of building so crucial?

Scaffolding is an integral part of the construction. Workers can access higher heights and be more steady than when using a ladder since it is constructed at the very beginning of any building project or maintenance task. Scaffolding, however, has a history of causing construction workers’ mishaps and may be quite dangerous. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has stated that while falls are a significant cause of injuries in the construction business, falls from scaffolding are one of the main contributors to those injuries.

To protect the employees’ safety while the building is being repaired or built, scaffolding is placed before construction begins. Additionally, it lends some support to the standing structure. We’ll address why scaffolding is necessary during construction although it’s hazardous. Let’s first examine the risks associated with scaffolding.

Construction Scaffolding Accidents

The majority of construction workers frequently use scaffolds, based on a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Scaffolding is estimated to be used regularly by up to 65 percent of those working in the construction business. Scaffolding accidents have increased as a result of this. According to OSHA, incidents involving scaffolds make up the majority of workplace mishaps and may cost American firms upwards of $90 million in lost productivity due to missed workdays.

Primary Reasons for Scaffolding Use in the Construction Industry

Efficiency 

Construction workers and contractors can do their jobs on a safe and secure platform thanks to scaffolding. Scaffolding increases the productivity of any construction project by making it simple and quick to maneuver around structures of any size and form. When time is of importance, it is obvious why scaffolding is vital during construction because scaffolding structures only require one working day to be constructed. This reduces the amount of time spent on-site and risk of work injury.

Enhanced Safety

There is always an element of risk and danger while working at a height. As was already said, scaffolding platforms give construction workers a safe and secure environment in which to complete their work while elevated to a great height. Safety devices like barrier netting and fencing safeguard the health and safety of the general people below the scaffolding in addition to protecting the employees’ health. These barriers serve to create a working environment that is fully secure for everyone engaged, and they also help to capture any stray debris.

Easy Accessibility 

Scaffolding gives workers and builders access to difficult-to-reach areas of structures, allowing them to develop and construct more creatively. Platforms, in particular customized scaffolding, can be constructed in a way that makes it possible for the workers to execute any design or plan. 

Strategic Positioning for Workers

Scaffolding gives employees or builders a strategic edge by putting them in a good spot to complete their tasks. Because of the elevation scaffolding, they are no longer dependent on ladders, which may be dangerous and unsteady. When a worker or builder uses a ladder, they frequently operate at an angle, lack a stable platform from which to work, and frequently have poor balance. 

On the other hand, scaffolding positions employees in front of the building where they can easily operate on the wall or ceiling. It also gives rise to the possibility of numerous people working side by side at the same time, which is not possible using a ladder.

Factors That Cause Scaffolding Accidents

Here are some common causes of scaffolding accidents:

  • Collapsing or falling objects.
  • Incorrectly built scaffolds.
  • Poor planking
  • Improper inspection of the scaffolding.
  • Insufficient safety protocols
  • Absent bracing.
  • Inadequate training.
  • Inadequate protective equipment.

OSHA Scaffold Regulations

Scaffolding is one of the many tools, pieces of equipment, and vehicles that may be present on a construction site. It is one of the most hazardous and frequently used tools on construction sites, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). So, to try to prevent some of the horrific injuries from scaffolding injuries, OSHA has implemented an exceedingly complex and well-developed set of standards and norms that may apply to scaffolding. OSHA regulations contain the following key sections:

Scaffold Design and Construction: The design and construction must comply with OSHA regulations on the equipment type, rated capabilities, construction techniques, and use. Each scaffold and each component of a scaffold must be able to sustain without failing at least four times the maximum designed load in addition to their weight. At least six times the maximum anticipated load must be supported by each suspension rope.

Inspection: Before using any scaffolds or scaffold components during a work shift, employers should demand that an OSHA-qualified individual check them all for obvious flaws. Only a qualified individual should supervise the construction, movement, dismantling, or modification of scaffolds. Before usage, all parts of personal fall protection equipment should be checked. Any equipment that is broken or worn out has to be taken out of service right away.

Capacity: OSHA regulations offer a thorough set of specifications as it relates to how much weight scaffolding is supposed to support. For scaffolding to meet OSHA guidelines and criteria, it must be able to hold at least four times the maximum rated capacity that is applied to or transferred to it without failing, in addition to being able to maintain its weight without failing.

Every time a worker in the construction industry ascends a scaffold, they are jeopardizing their life and well-being. Accidents brought on by poorly built or maintained scaffolding can result in severe, sometimes fatal injuries.

Summary

In conclusion, scaffolding is a crucial component of the building sector. High-rise construction and/or essential repairs and upkeep of any building or structure can safely be constructed. In addition to providing worker and public safety, scaffolding facilitates quick completion of the necessary construction work. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a more credible and experienced scaffolding contractor.

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