Construction sites have many dangerous aspects that could cause injury to employees when all safety precautions are not practiced. Scaffolding Safety Precautions are a very important aspect as, scaffolding is one item that is often identified as n high-risk activity. Due to numerous aspect that is non-compliant and create hazards on sites. Aspects such as scaffolding not being tagged, incomplete construction of a scaffolding structure or not being braced in the proper manner; just to name a few. This article will discuss 5 important aspects that need to be considered when erecting scaffolding. 

Construction of Scaffolding

According to the legislation, scaffolding may not be left dismantled. Except for normal breaks from work, for example, over weekends. Scaffolding may not be moved or altered while any work is in progress. When it comes to independent scaffolding, it is required that the structure shall use ties, that are fixed in the following 2 manners. Which is positively fixed to the structure or of the revealing type which relies on friction to provide the means of restraint. The reveal tube shall be properly tightened but without damaging the structure. To avoid any employees from falling through an opening within the scaffolding, it is required that the floors below any working platforms shall be boarded over. All scaffolding must have the correct barricading such as toeboards and guardrails. 

Materials & tools

The use of the correct material when constructing scaffolding is also important. It is strongly recommended that the structure is compiled with the same kind of material such as steel, aluminum and timber. However, items such as platform planks, guardrails, toeboard and surfaces of ramps may be of a different material. The main reason for this is that different materials have different weights and support capacities. Therefore, where materials of different strengths are used, the erectors shall ensure that the safety of the structure is not compromised.

Spanners of the correct size must be used to construct, assemble and tighten bolts and nuts. When the incorrect size spanner is used it could create too great leverage. Which could strain and even fracture the bolts which could influence the integrity of the structure. It is also required that any materials, tools or equipment used on a scaffolding structure that cannot be carried safely must be raised and lowered in a safe manner. 

Maintenance & Housekeeping

Housekeeping on any construction site is very important. It is considered by many safety consultants as the most important aspect of keeping a site safe. This applies to scaffolding as well; it is required that the platform of the structure is kept clear of any obstructions such as unnecessary tools and materials laying around. The removal of any unnecessary materials must be removed at least once a day. All equipment used for fixing and fastening loads and platforms must be inspected regularly and a record must be kept of any findings. 

The surface of any working platform on scaffolding must be maintained in a no slippery condition. To avoid any employee from slipping and losing their balance. With regards to the storage of any materials on site, the area below any scaffolding may not be used as a storage area and must be kept clean.  

Personal Safety 

Employees working on scaffolding are required to wear safety harnesses or restraint belts. A safety harness with a double lanyard must be worn by an employee. It is required when conducting any hazardous work where it is dangerous for the employee to fall. Safety harnesses shall comply with SANS 50361 and restraint belts shall comply with SANS 809. 

It is not required for the worker to continue to wear a safety harness or restraint belt during normal duties such as dismantling the structure. Any other personal protective equipment, when necessary, must be worn such as a safety helmet, eye and face protection, protective footwear and gloves. 

Safety Signs

Any erected scaffolding must be tagged, to indicate whether the structure is safe for use, has been inspected or is not safe to use. The size of the signage must be 205 x 205 mm. Which shall be attached to the entry point or placed at a prominent position. Another required safety sign that must be displayed on scaffoldings is MV3. Head protection shall be worn; if not already indicated on the other general signage (be placed at or attached to the nearest entry point). 

The following safety signs must be displayed: 

  • WW 1, to warn the public of scaffolding operations (general warning of hazards)
  • WW 8, to warn the public of suspended scaffolding operations
  • PV 3, to prevent workers from using incomplete scaffolding
  • GA 8, to advise workers that scaffolding is safe for use.
Safety Signs
Required Safety Signs

These requirements can result in reducing any risk or injuries occurring on construction sites. As stated, scaffolding and working at heights are high-risk items that are often seen on sites. Applying these simple aspects can improve the quality and integrity of erected scaffolding. Cairnmead Industrial Consultants are passionate and focused to ensure employers and employees conduct their work safely on n daily basis. 

Our Services

It’s not always that simple, is it? Simple takes time, simple takes knowledge and experience. Simple takes someone who is able to wade through the complicated and make sense of it all. That someone is us at Cairnmead. Because we know that, no matter how complex the challenge, it’s the simplicity of the outcome that matters.

Contact us to find out more:

Christof Lourens

CEO Cairnmead Industrial Consultants (Pty) Ltd

Tel: 012 346 5752 | Email:

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