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5 scaffold safety tips to avoid falls

As a construction worker, you are well aware of how dangerous, and potentially fatal, scaffolding can be. According to OSHA, there were 370 deadly falls on construction sites in 2016. If a scaffold is not safe, you may get seriously hurt at work.

Because working on scaffolds is a normal aspect of your job, it is crucial for you to always brush up on safety strategies. Review these tips so you can avoid falling from a scaffold:

1. Receive training

It is imperative that you receive proper training before using any type of scaffold. Your employer must train you to identify hazards, such as what may cause falls, electrocutions or falling objects. You must also learn how to determine the load capacity of each scaffold and how to use each type. 

2. Verify inspection

Before you get on a scaffold, double-check that a competent individual has inspected it. This will ensure that it is in proper working order and safe to use. Scaffolding must only be erected, moved, dismantled or altered by a competent person. If you ever have any concerns about the stability of a scaffold, talk with your supervisor before getting on it. 

3. Check fall protection systems

All scaffolds require the use of some type of fall protection, from guardrails to personal fall arrest systems. Always check this equipment for signs of wear or damage. Ensure the system is anchored at a safe point.

4. Wear proper gear

Wearing your hard hat when you are near or on a scaffold will help protect you from head injuries, either from falling objects or falling down to a lower level. Non-skid work boots will help you from slipping on scaffolds.

5. Do not overload the scaffold

Make sure you are aware of the maximum carrying capacity of every scaffold on which you work. Do not assume all scaffolds can handle the same loads.

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