From repairing lights in the ceiling to storing inventory and equipment, scaffolding is a great investment for your warehouse. Unfortunately, improper installation and use can lead to serious injuries that are not only life-threatening, but also expensive. Considering businesses spend an estimated $170 billion a year on occupational injuries and illnesses, reducing the risk of scaffolding accidents is imperative for your employee's safety and your company's future. With these tips to follow when installing and using scaffolding equipment, you, your business, and your employees will be safe and productive.
It is important to remember that nothing lasts forever, and constant use and pressure stresses out the metal and fiberglass materials. This stress and tension will decrease the stability and durability of the equipment, increasing the risk of failure. Therefore, you should perform regular inspections on the scaffolding.
Focus on the lower support system, catwalk, steps or ladder rungs, bracing, wire cables and railings, and wheels if you have mobile scaffolds.
Document any signs of rust and corrosion, since the scaffolding should be replaced if these serious signs of distress are noticeable. Make sure all surfaces are level and there is no serious movement when walking on or climbing onto the scaffolding.
You and your employees should be trained properly before using scaffolding. Everyone in your warehouse must be trained and up to date on OSHA requirements, ensuring your employees are not only educated in the proper use of scaffolding and other equipment in the warehouse, but reducing your risk of being fined, as well.
You should communicate the importance of working on scaffolding safely with your employees. Make sure they understand the risks of moving across scaffolding improperly and stacking or storing inventory that is too heavy for your specific system. Every type of scaffolding system has a load capacity, which should be visible by workers at all times.
Workers should wear rubber-soled shoes, which provide ample support while climbing and walking across scaffolding. Also, head protection is also essential in case one of your workers fall. Hard hats should be worn each time one of your employees works on the scaffold system.
Employees, tools, products, and supplies should be off the scaffold before it is moved to a different location. Allowing people or items to remain during transport can lead to serious injuries and damaged parts or equipment. If any scaffolding equipment needs to be moved outdoors, never allows employees to work on it if it is raining or snowing. This is imperative, since the development of moisture increases the risk of slips and falls.
Proper training will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries while keeping your actual inventory and warehouse equipment safe and functional.
If you need to replace your system or you are just beginning the installation process, certain steps should be in place to ensure the project is completed safely and effectively.
When, constructing platforms, specialized lumbar should be used. Opt for scaffold-grade lumbar for the best support possible. Make sure footings are installed on a level, stable ground. Legs should be supported on firm footings if the scaffolding will be permanent in your warehouse. Finally, all open areas of the scaffolding should be protected din case of fall. For example, guardrails, midrails, and toeboards should be installed on all open ends and sides.
Managing a warehouse does not have to be overwhelming, since it can be both productive and functional with proper understanding. Regular inspections, proper training, and effective installation will ensure your warehouse's scaffolding is functional and safe. This guide and licensed, trained individuals will help you reduce the risk of scaffolding accidents in your warehouse environment.