How Do You Prevent Falls While Putting Up Scaffolding?


It’s well known in the construction industry that scaffolders are at a higher risk of falling due to the nature of putting up or dismantling scaffolding.

There are three stages where scaffolders could be exposed to fall hazards while putting up scaffolding.

This can occur during the placement of scaffold planks, at the open ends of the scaffold, or when climbing from one lift of the platform to the other lift.

The first instance is known as an internal fall while the second instance is known as an external fall. The third instance is known as a climbing fall.

There are many steps that a scaffolding company can take to prevent such falls when putting up scaffolding on a particular worksite.

Work practices should minimise the risk of injury from falling and there are certain Safe Work procedures that also outlines certain practices that should be followed.

In fact, every scaffolder should be highly trained in all aspects of fall prevention before they can put up a scaffold.

The scaffolding company is responsible for training its staff in all aspects of safety and security before they are allowed to work on erecting and dismantling scaffolding.

An experienced engineer should be consulted on the structural integrity of the scaffolding to be erected at a particular worksite.

However, what safety procedures and guidelines are in place when the scaffolding is actually being erected?

Let’s take a closer look now at some of the best ways to prevent falls while actually erecting scaffolding.

  • Fully Decking Each Lift Or Floor
  • Sequential Erection
  • Using Advanced Guardrailing Systems
  • Falls With Safe Access Systems
  • Falls With Travel Restraint Systems

Preventing Falls By Fully Decking Each Lift Or Floor

You can prevent internal falls when erecting scaffolding by fully decking each lift or floor. For this, you should install the full deck of planks at each floor or lift.

You should install planks on the next lift or floor by standing on a fully-decked platform. The risk of internal falls can be minimised with this sort of arrangement.

With a fully-decked floor or lift, scaffolders working aloft won’t fall through the scaffold.

The scaffolding company should take responsibility for the safety of the workers who are putting up scaffolding.

Preventing Falls By Sequential Erection

A sequential method of erection can help prevent falls while erecting the scaffold. The method involves “one bay at a time” sequential installation of the scaffold.

The use of this method doesn’t exclude the use of alternative methods. Advanced guardrail systems can offer the same level of fall prevention.

There are many other methods of preventing falls when erecting scaffolding.

The right method should be chosen depending on the feasibility of its application and the scaffold configuration that is being considered.

These are important things to consider when trying to prevent falls while putting up scaffolding.

Preventing Falls By Using Advanced Guardrailing Systems

Advanced guardrail systems will help prevent falls while erecting and dismantling the scaffolding.

The guardrail system can be assembled at each bay from the ground level moved upwards.

It should be done one lift at a time once the internal guardrails of the scaffold have been put in place.

The guardrail system could be attached to the top lift and then moved down when the scaffold is being dismantled.

Make sure you assign an experienced person to oversee the whole operation because this method will help to prevent falls when putting up scaffolding.

Preventing Falls With Safe Access Systems

Safe access systems can prevent falls while putting up scaffolding on your worksite.

You should make sure that the appropriate access system is in place in order to control the risk of climbing falls for scaffolders who are gaining access from one lift to another lift.

The access system can take the form of a ladder or stairway access that will be progressively installed as the scaffolding is being erected.

This is another effective method of preventing falls while putting up scaffolding at your worksite.

Preventing Falls With Travel Restraint Systems

Safety harnesses can be used to provide the necessary protection against serious falls when scaffolders are required to work on the platform.

However, safety harnesses can also increase the risk of injury when used inappropriately and incorrectly.

Safety harnesses should comply with the relevant requirements of Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZ 1891.

In fact, an anchorage point should have a working load of not less than 1550 kgs and should be located directly behind or above the scaffolder.

Inertia reels are ideal for areas where vertical mobility is required.

As we conclude, let’s hope that these tips on preventing falls while putting up scaffolding on your worksite help you to provide a safe working environment for your workers.

If you are looking for knowledgeable and experienced scaffolders, who have leading-hands that work together with you and offer expert advice, please contact us at Skelscaff today on 1300 266 607 or email us at [email protected].

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