Work-related injuries are a major concern in the construction industry. In 2015, the most common construction injury in Australia was being hit by an object at 31%. The fourth was falling from a height which accounts for 15% of all injuries. Scaffolding planks that are unsafe sometimes contribute to these incidents, but there are ways to make sure that your planks are safe to use. There are also things that you need to make sure of before using these platforms.
Planks Need to Have Traction
Planks made of aluminum or steel are very slippery, especially when wet. Most workers wear safety shoes in construction, and those shoes sometimes have polyurethane soles. Polyurethane does not grip aluminum surfaces very well. You need to make sure that your planks have perforation holes or cleats for easier grip. It will also help to prevent heavy objects from slipping on the surface.
These platforms should not be angled more than 7°, with the surface entirely cleated to prevent slipping. It is also essential to wipe up any liquid spilled on the planks as this will directly affect your shoe’s ability to grip the surface. Follow the rule three-point rule. When you climb scaffolding, your body must be in contact with the bars on at least 3 points – two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot. That will reduce the risk of falls significantly.
Install a Guard Rail
It is easy to lose concentration on your surroundings when you are hard at work, like welding or overhead work. A moment of losing focus, and it is possible to fall from a scaffolding plank. Make sure that does not happen by installing guard rails. This can also help in preventing objects from falling on unsuspecting workers.
Fabricated mesh panels that are sometimes used in place of guard rails should be as h4 as a guard rail. The material should be made of a steel wire with a diameter of at least 4 mm and apertures no bigger than 50 mm × 50 mm. They should also include a h4 150 mm high kickplate.
Using fiber rope or steel rope is not advisable as they can cause more injury for workers. Chains can be used, but make sure that they are connected to stable anchors.
Planks Should Be Wide Enough
Enough space is needed for your feet to move around comfortably. Make sure that the plank is wide enough to accommodate your feet’s length. The standard width should be no less than 450mm for planks that only require people and tools to come through. For transporting materials, it should be at least 675mm.
It is also best to ensure that the scaffolding plank is of uniform thickness to prevent uplift or displacement when used normally. Keep the surface positioned properly to avoid gaps and other tripping hazards. In cases where access to the platform is near the working surface, installing a self-closing gate is advisable.
Safety is everybody’s concern, as the saying goes. It is important to inspect the surfaces that you will be working on. Scaffolding planks need extra attention because they account for a big chunk of work-related accidents in Australia. Unsafe platforms are one of the most common reasons for accidents. Of course, as a worker, it should be a rule to be aware of everything at all times.