Anyone who has ever walked the streets of Manhattan has surely seen them — the nimble-footed construction workers working high above the ground perched precariously on scaffolding extending up many stories from the ground level.
Scaffold-builders and workers face unique risks that others working with them in the New York City construction milieu do not. Read on to learn how you can be safer working with and on scaffolds in the Big Apple.
Carry scaffolding safely
When moving scaffolding materials to and from jobsites and on the sites themselves, it’s safest to stack the scaffolding frames atop bases, braces and planks between the truck’s wheel wells.
Never travel with unflagged scaffolding equipment extending from behind or on either side of the vehicle. If you need to travel with the tailgate lowered, secure your load tightly using a strap to tie it down.
Set scaffolding up safely
Begin by installing the casters or base jacks first to eliminate the need to raise the scaffold later. Then, build dual cross braces on the frame. Once that is completed, you can move a second frame into its position and cross-brace it. Scaffolding should be moved a foot or so from the wall before planking it.
Only erect scaffolding on even ground
Framing tubes of scaffolds should never be used without base plates or casters, as it can weaken them structurally and cause damage. Placing a sturdy block of wood under each leg can prevent the scaffold from sinking into soft surfaces like asphalt on a hot summer day.
Plank entire bay
The entire width of your scaffold should be planked. Not only will this enlargen your work space, it also lowers the risk of anyone falling. Sometimes, this may not be possible. In those circumstances, place an additional plank as a guardrail for extra protection.
If working on casters, construct a diagonal “gooser” brace to stabilize the scaffold.
Use a three-point grip
Anyone ascending scaffolds should always use a three-point grip with one foot and both hands or one hand and both feet remaining in contact with the scaffold. Workers should avoid leaning away from the frame, as the uneven distribution of weight can bring the frame down.
Also, remember to stay off the cross braces as they are not intended to be weight-bearing.
Hurt on the job? Seek compensation
Scaffolding injuries can cause severe damage, but even minor accidents can leave construction workers in pain and unable to work. Seeking compensation for your injuries can help you get back on track after a scaffolding injury in New York City.