Building, renovating, or repairing in a public area requires careful attention to both your own and the safety of the surrounding community.
Even with precautions taken, accidents can still occur, such as when tools or materials fall from a scaffolding and cause serious injury. Then you have people wandering out of nowhere onto the scaffolding, etc.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “struck by object” is one of the “fatal four” construction accidents, along with falls, electrocutions, and caught-in/between accidents.
- After falls, being struck by an object was the second leading cause of death.
- Two fatalities a week were attributed to being struck by an object.
Additional precautions can be taken for the safety of pedestrians on the scaffolding if the pavement is not blocked off.
According to the National Access & Scaffolding Confederation:
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has published a document titled “Guidance on Protection of the Public,” in which they detail several of the most significant risks and hazards associated with scaffolding:
- Work at height during scaffolding operations (with risk of falling scaffold tubes, boards, and fittings).
- Work at height during building works (other trades working on the completed scaffold with risk of their materials falling, e.g. bricks).
- Pedestrians in the path of moving vehicles carrying scaffolding equipment (risk of personal injury walking into scaffolding structures).
The NASC further states:
“Clients, main contractors, designers, users (e.g. other contractors on site who will use the scaffold), and scaffold contractors must consider and control the risks to the general public as early as possible, at the enquiry stage, planning stage (i.e. planning, pavement licence, traffic management, segregation, hoarding, lighting, signage, etc.), and throughout the life of each project.”
Improving the Safety of Scaffolding Around People
- Garbage catching nets
Netting is commonly used to prevent debris from falling from scaffolding, which is one of the most common ways to protect the public from potential harm.
Nuts, bolts, and other seemingly innocuous hardware can pose a serious threat to pedestrians and workers below. Protecting pedestrians and workers from the hazards of working on scaffolds is not difficult, and a scaffolding net is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to do so which will keep the scaffolding prices in Swansea down.
- Canopy for walkers
In the same way that netting protects people from debris falling to the ground, pedestrian canopies shield them from the more serious health risk posed by exposure to dust.
Woodworking and stonemasonry are just two examples of activities that can generate fine dust particles that are unpleasant or even harmful for pedestrians to inhale.
In addition to keeping workers safe from dust, a canopy can also help keep the workplace quieter than it would be with just netting.
- Chute for scaffolding
Scaffolding chutes, also known as tunnels, are used to safely dispose of trash into a skip located below. Because of this, there is less of a chance that trash will fall off the scaffold and hurt the workers or passers-by below.
A variety of lengths and widths of these garbage chutes are available to meet your specific needs. They are extremely sturdy and can endure tonnes of brick, stone, and other construction debris.
It’s possible that having more than one chute for a given construction project would be beneficial in some cases.
- Shrink wrap
Scaffolds can be protected from high winds and falling debris with the help of shrink wrap, which forms a tight, complete protective barrier around the entire scaffold structure. You can use shrink wrap to make your construction site completely impervious to the elements.
Protecting windows, siding, and other potentially fragile building components is another important function of this scaffolding safety feature.
- Inserts made of foam and end caps
Scaffolding poles should be covered with brightly coloured foam at ground level by any reputable scaffolding company. End caps can also be used to conceal horizontally protruding poles.
Scaffolding must be removed to make way for pedestrians and motorists. Please contact your scaffolding company immediately if you have any issues with exposed poles or end caps in a public area. However, if the foam is damaged in any way (knocked, stretched, etc.), the cover or cap can come off as well. The public’s safety should be a top priority, so staying alert is essential. This entails constant monitoring and upkeep of the scaffolding setup.
These are common sense precautions that any reputable scaffolding firm in Swansea should take when working in a public area. Still, it is best to double-check everything before beginning any sort of construction. And always be sceptical. Speak up if you notice a safety issue on the scaffolding you’re working on, and the company will do what it can to fix it.