Each year, more than 60 workers are killed by falls from scaffolds, about 1 in 5 of the fatal falls in construction. Besides problems with planks and guardrails, the main causes of injuries and deaths on scaffolds are poor planning for assembling and taking them apart, missing tie-ins or bracing, loads that are too heavy, and being too close to power lines. Also, falling objects can hurt people below scaffolds.
Scaffolds are supported (usually by posts/beams and legs) or suspended (by ropes). • OSHA says a scaffold must be designed by a qualified person.* Supported scaffolds must be able to support their own weight and at least 4 times the maximum intended load . • OSHA says a competent person* must inspect a scaffold before each workshift and after anything happens that could affect the structure. The competent person should be trained in scaffold safety. • A competent person must supervise if a scaffold is assembled, changed, moved, or taken apart. • Power lines: Keep scaffolds 10 feet or more from power lines (or 3 feet, if lines are less than 300 volts), unless you are sure the power lines are de-energized. • Weather: You cannot work on a scaffold in high winds or a storm unless a competent person says it is safe and you use personal fall-arrest or a windscreen. (If you use a screen, the scaffold must be secured against the expected wind force.) OSHA says you must not work on a scaffold that has ice or snow on it — except to get ice or snow off the scaffold. Guidelines for checking a scaffold
• If a scaffold is more than 2 feet above or below a level, there must be a way to get on or off — such as a ladder, ramp, or personnel hoist. The access must not be more than 14" from the scaffold. • Put a standing scaffold on a firm foundation (with base plates attached to feet)— for instance, with one piece of wood under each pair of legs (across the shortest distance), extending at least 1 foot past each leg.
• Uprights must be vertical and...
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