How to Erect Scaffolding
Scaffolding is an important aspect of building and maintenance. It offers an alternative to using ladders, and if one is not careful while erecting scaffolding, you risk yourself to a very dangerous accident. There are thousands of cases reported on scaffolding incidents, usually due to slipping, falling objects or loose support. However, scaffolding comes along with its benefits, including a larger working area and the mobility it provides over that of a simple ladder. Overall this brings efficiency and cuts work time immensely.
It is vital to note that the proper erection and use of scaffolding is overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This administration issues a list of guidelines that ensure the scaffolding set up is indeed a safe place to work.
First, it is important to select the ideal foundation on which to set up your scaffolding. Normally, the best foundation needs to be level, or as close as possible. This provides a firm and stable support, considering that it should be constructed in such a way it can support four times its intended load. Ensure that your foundation is not subject to subsidence or flooding and makes sure to use adjusting screws to level the structure.
Basically, scaffolding consists of the base plates which are the support, horizontal poles known as ledgers and vertical poles also referred to as standards. The ledgers have transoms placed across them to support the actual planking. There are also diagonal supports which are used in between the standards, also referred to as cross braces. Metal tubes called couplers join all these parts. OSHA provides the right guidelines on dimensions of these parts.
Having set up your basic scaffolding structure, you will now need to add toe-boards, which are plans of wood measuring six inches high that are attached at right angles to each platform. Another important aspect is a guard rail that comes in handy in case of falling objects that might also injure or hurt the workers.
Finally, it is important to make sure that the scaffolding is adjusted properly to the adjacent building or structure. This can be done with ties which require to be fitted every 12 feet or so. Usually, you will find that there are different types of ties, depending on the size of the scaffolding, so make sure to find the right one that fits.