Running A Scaffolding Business? Know the Risks!

Running A Scaffolding Business? Know the Risks!

Falls from a height remain the biggest killer on construction sites. Ensure you have the right scaffolding insurance in place before you start business.

Be clear about when a scaffold is required. Ensure that operators are adequately trained and that you have the right insurance in place. Preparation and Design The Work at Height Regulations 2005 state that duty-holders should use “the most appropriate” equipment. Ladders are not prohibited, but the regulations state they should only be used for “low-risk, short duration work and where a risk assessment shows that other more suitable work equipment cannot be used due to the layout of the work area.” This means that, in the majority of cases, scaffolding will be needed. While safer than a ladder, all operators must be appropriately trained in the use of scaffolding. The duty-holder should also make sure he holds appropriate scaffolder’s insurance. Every scaffold should be designed using a bespoke calculation and by a competent person. This ensures that each scaffold is tailor-made and designed for the specific job according to a number of key factors, including location, intended use, period of time it will be in place, critical dimensions, working loads and other such factors. Armed with this information, the contractor or designer can then assess the type of scaffold required and provide the user with relevant information and (if necessary) drawings. Erection The scaffolding must be erected in a safe manner by competent persons, in accordance with NASC guidance document SG4 “Preventing falls in scaffolding.” Operators are required to provide appropriate supervision according to the complexity of the work and the levels of competence of the scaffolders involved. At a minimum, every gang must contain a competent scaffolder who is trained for the specific type of scaffolding to be erected. Trainee scaffolders should always work under the direct supervision of a competent scaffolder. Inspection The scaffold user is responsible for ensuring that all scaffolding is inspected before first use and at least every seven days thereafter. Because of the threat posed to the public, it is important that scaffolders also have some public liability insurance in place. The inspection should be carried out by a competent person who must issue a report noting any defects or factors that could give rise to a risk to health and safety, and any corrective actions taken.