Safety is a primary concern of construction companies, managers and developers. Preventative measures and safety planning are increasingly part of the day-to-day management of construction job sites. Adjustable scaffolding can be one way for mason contractors to increase the job site safety for their crew.
Reduced Mason Injury and Stress
One way that adjustable scaffolding increases safety at the job site is by reducing injury and stress by providing a larger workspace than traditional tubular scaffolds provide. The adjustable scaffold's work decks have two distinct levels: a mason's deck and a laborer's deck. The mason's deck is lower than the laborer's deck in order to provide the mason a more comfortable and efficient range of motion. That motion is operating between the knees and chest, a range that reduces fatigue and muscle movement and thereby inherently lowering the potential injury to the back and other muscle groups.
Reduced Erector & Labor Injury and Stress
Adjustable scaffolding reduces potential injury and stress by providing a work platform that elevates with work progress. This feature enables the masonry materials and tools to remain in place while the scaffold is elevated. The feature eliminates board "jumps," extra material handling and other wasted motions. Simply put: "Time not used means workers not injured!"
Forklifts, instead of laborers, primarily handle adjustable scaffolds. Unlike other platforms, when adjustable scaffolds are handled by erectors, the scaffolding is small enough to be handled efficiently. Erection and dismantle time is normally less than other scaffold systems. Less erection time reduces exposure to other associated injuries and accidents to personnel and equipment.
Integral Access and Fall Restraint System
Access to and from scaffolding is always a major concern of the mason. Although tubular frame scaffolding meets OSHA 1926.451 (l) requirements, accessing the work deck is usually another matter. OSHA requires unrestricted access to a work deck or platform without impediments such as planks, tools or rails. Adjustable scaffold manufacturers resolved this access problem by making a platform basket allowing the worker to access the mason's deck without restriction but still providing all required protections.
Guardrail systems and toe board brackets are usually integral members of modern adjustable scaffold systems. Like the platform, these safety features elevate with the work's progress ensuring that all workers on the platform benefit from the safety protection. Guardrails and toe boards are required on all scaffold platforms over 10 feet high.
Job site and Workspace Cleanliness
Often underestimated, a clean job site can offer tremendous safety benefits. Most debris and other materials used by the masonry contractor are often associated near and around the scaffold work area. This is because of the need for the laborer to constantly "jump" planks. Jumping planks requires all materials to be relocated to the ground before again being reloaded back to the work deck. As all masons know, this damages materials and creates waste waste that is often left at or near the scaffold work area creating hazards and potential accidents. Adjustable scaffolding requires no board jumps thereby eliminating material relocation.
Workspace cleanliness is altogether different than job site cleanliness. Workspace cleanliness directly affects all masons and laborers on the platform. Adjustable scaffolds offer a larger work platform than tubular scaffolds. The larger work platform allows masons room to organize the materials on the deck, thereby allowing more room and less obstruction for maneuvering. There are fewer accidents when maneuvering on adjustable scaffold decks.
Adjustable scaffolding systems continue to be progressively innovative as manufacturers improve designs and models. The design of adjustable scaffolding is simple and efficient. With it also being safe and cost-effective, adjustable scaffolding is a viable option for most mason contractors.
Eugene Sak is Chairman of the Adjustable Scaffold Council for the SIA and has been involved in the Adjustable Scaffold Industry for more than 15 years.
The Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) formed the Adjustable Scaffold Council in response to its members' years of work and activities within the adjustable scaffold industry. The Adjustable Scaffold Council assists the SIA in its regulatory involvement with agencies such as OSHA, MSHA, Cal-OSHA and other entities. Members of the SIA include users, dealers, labor groups and manufacturers.
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