Before the Fall

Safety is a core value and must be an integral part of what we do, not only does our personal wellbeing depend upon this, so does Wachs. As we mobilize and begin work within new facilities on new processes within new systems, remember that we have a Team, Wachs and a client to protect. Encourage your Team and lead by example. When you are not sure ask, when you don’t think something is right stop and get direction and when you see something that isn’t safe, stop the task and discuss and find a safer way.  

OSHA estimates 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds frequently. Eliminating scaffold- related accidents would prevent 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year, at a savings of $90 million in workdays not lost. 

Many of our tasks involve the use of scaffolding, and while we do not have the space for all of the OSHA regulation or questions concerning scaffolding here, here are some common questions concerning scaffolding: 

Who is allowed to design a scaffold?    Only a qualified person can design a scaffold. Once the qualified person has designed a scaffold, it must then be constructed and loaded within that design. 

Who is a qualified person?    According to OSHA, a qualified person is a person who:

  • Possesses a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing.
  • Has extensive knowledge, documented training and experience.
  • Can solve or resolve problems related to the work or the project. 

What are “erectors” and “dismantlers” and what training do they need?  An erector is someone who assembles scaffolding, and a dismantler is someone who disassembles scaffolding. Both erectors and dismantlers must receive documented training from a competent instructor before they can assemble and/or disassemble scaffolding. A competent instructor is one who possess a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, with extensive knowledge, training and experience. 

Who are scaffold users?    Scaffold users are those whose work requires them, at least some of the time, to be supported by scaffolding to access the area of a structure where that work is performed. 

Do scaffold users need to receive training?    Yes, every Wachs employee and subcontractor who performs work while on a scaffold must receive documented training from a competent instructor. 

What must the training for a scaffold user include?    The training must enable employees and subcontractors to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold being used and to understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards. 

Scaffolding is an area that has high potential for failure.

Whether it is being assembled, working from or disassembling, if the steps are not done correctly the results can be catastrophic. When you have a job or a task in the planning stage or one where there are questions or doubts about scaffolding, seek input from someone in the safety department.  

Continue the discussion with more scaffolding Q&A in this edition of  Wachs Weekly