A lot of construction projects make use of scaffolding – indeed many companies insist on it. But scaffolding takes time and money to erect and some people are cautious about pulling the trigger when work can be completed without it.
Deciding whether to use scaffolding or not depends on a few factors. You can help make the right decision by asking yourself these questions:
1. What do the rules say?
According to health and safety guidelines work that involves 4 or more people at height requires a risk assessment. Usual recommendations are that scaffolding is the best action to take to safely carry out the job.
2. How large is the job?
The need for scaffolding should not only be determined by the number of people but by the size and duration of the job. Even a single worker can benefit significantly from scaffolding over a ladder – which provides only limited access and workspace. In addition scaffolding doesn’t just keep the worker(s) safe but those on the ground as well. Failing tools and materials can be a significant risk to passers by and other workers should also be considered. The more equipment that is required, it’s weight and how hazardous it is should be carefully considered when working at height.
3. How long will the work take?
There are no hard and fast rules here but it can be a significant contributor to your decision making. Many people would suggest that scaffolding is not resourceful for a single day, though time-frame should not be the only deciding factor. As a general rule work at height which lasts longer than 3 days is recommended to use scaffolding.
4. Is weather going to be temperamental?
Scaffolding is far more secure and sturdy than ladders when working in bad weather. Steel scaffolding is extremely durable and stands up to strong winds, rain and show. If there is a chance the weather might suddenly change then you may want to consider scaffolding for a safer working platform.
5. Is a platform required?
A scaffolding platform can be a huge difference maker over a ladder, saving countless trips up and down with tools, paint pots etc.. A platform limits the risk of equipment falling and makes work a whole lot easier and safer. The Health And Safety Executive (HSE) says where a ladder extends more than 9 metres in height a rest platform should be used.
6. Will scaffolding make the job easier and safer?
If the answer is yes then it makes complete sense!