All throughout human history, we have built upwards towards the sky in the form of wonderous structures like the Egyptian Pyramids and the Empire State Building. To build this high, laborers are required to ascend to these heights with easy access to their tools and without risking a fall.
This necessity lead to the development of various forms of temporarily erected platforms known as scaffolding. Many different human cultures developed their own version of these platforms and used them over thousands of years to build the metropolitan centres that blanket the planet.
But how much do you know about these kinds of platforms? The following will detail some of the most important facts you should know about scaffolding and its use throughout society.
What exactly is scaffolding?
Most commonly, these platforms come in the form of a series of flat walking sections, connecting stairs or ladders and criss-crossing metal beams that support the structure. The platform can be made from a variety of materials, but the most common and reliable are steel and aluminium.
How is it used?
Whenever workers are required to work at heights, a plan is made to supply them with a temporary platform that will reach the heights required and will ensure the safety of said workers. This occurs after a fully qualified scaffolding safety inspector audits the construction site and gives their official ‘ok’ that a platform can be set-up and used.
The inspector is meticulous is making sure that the proper safety procedures are followed whenever the unit is used as well as when it is being set-up and packed-down. If the inspector determines that the platform is no long viable or being used correctly, they will order it cease being used until they are satisfied any problems are dealt with.
In the unfortunate event an accident does occur, the inspector is obligated to shut down use of the platform and investigate what went wrong. Only if the inspector is satisfied that the problem that caused the accident is dealt with can they give approval for work to resume on the scaffolding.
When using the platform, only the necessary personnel should be on the actual unit so that weight safety limits are met. Also, only the tools that are necessary then and then should be used as cluttering the platform with equipment can cause a variety of hazards such as a tool falling and injuring someone below.
Many deaths have occurred on construction projects because of the dangers of working at heights. Therefore, there is such a large emphasis on safety inspections and thorough supervision while any type of scaffolding is being used.
An accident that result in injury or worse, death, would not only be tragic but also present a significant delay for the project. In terms of efficiency, the safe use of temporary platforming is essential.
What types of scaffolding are there?
The types of platforming that exist are just as diverse as the number of jobs that exist. There is also a spectrum of quality when it comes to platforming solutions where site managers very much get what they pay for.
A typical piece of scaffolding would be erected by hand and be in a fixed position. If it needed to be moved, it would need to be deconstructed and set up again in a new spot.
Other types of platforming have more flexibility in their design. For example, there are platforms that are motorised or work on a winch that allows their height to be adjusted on the fly. This is obviously very useful for job like painting a wall.