Table of Contents
Scaffolding can be the most valuable component of a worksite and is the backbone of a successful and safe job. That is why proper usage and maintenance are essential for any type, no matter the type of scaffold.
Below we go through the guidelines and legal obligations for safe usage and scaffold maintenance.
Assembly of Scaffolding Equipment
Regular scaffold maintenance begins with assembly. There is a variety of systems on the market with different loads and capabilities, each dependent on proper assembly:
- Kwikstage: Modular scaffolding with a V-press to connect scaffolding components;
- Ringlock: A system using a rosette that allows eight points of connection; and
- Scaffold tube: A traditional system of connecting tubing with couplers to create support.
That is why a competent person(s) must be on-site to install components as outlined.
Correct usage prevents scaffolding components from breaking when pushed beyond their limit. Correct installation prolongs equipment life and prevents a collapse, injuring construction workers.
A competent person must inspect the tower while erecting, altering or dismantling it.
Transport and Storage
The lifespan of scaffolding increases with proper maintenance involving careful storage and transport.
Simply loading your transport without care can result in bent or warped equipment. Damaged scaffolding will possess different strength and load capabilities than fully functional materials.
Storage is a key component as well. Whether on a construction site or in a warehouse, owners must ensure a damp and frost-free zone.
Dampness and frost invading your storage space can cause corrosion for non-galvanised scaffolding. Corrosion ultimately reduces the structural integrity of the system.
Covering stock is recommended for large components and smaller nuts and bolts.
Scaffold Inspection and Repair
No matter how well you look after your scaffolding, there will always be natural wear and tear over time. That is why workers should always inspect scaffolding parts before and after use.
WorkSafe dictates that inspections be conducted when assembling, altering or dismantling. WorkSafe also highlights the importance of visual checks after a weather event where a system can be damaged.
Scaffold inspection at regular intervals allows workers to spot damaged scaffolding before an incident occurs on the construction site.
Procedures detecting faulty components let builders begin necessary repairs to make parts functional.
Cleaning scaffolding is another method for improving a system’s lifespan. Cleaning not only leaves scaffolding in good condition but also ensures no hidden damage beneath the concrete and dirt.
Personnel Cleaning Scaffold Components
When to Repair or Replace?
Australian Standard 4576 advises on the correct procedure for when scaffolding is damaged:
- Repair: That can mean replacing bolts or screws on the component itself;
- Reduce: Removing the defective ends on a scaffold tube allows it to be used at a shorter length;
- Substitute: While potentially beyond the point of repair, certain components can have second life (i.e. using a scaffold board as a sole plate); and
- Scrapping: Remove the component entirely.
Why is Scaffold Maintenance Important?
Risk of Scaffold Collapse
The number one motivation to maintain equipment is worksite safety. A lack of inspections or maintenance creates faulty structures that will fail and injure or kill someone.
The cost of fully replacing a scaffolding system can outweigh the cost of maintaining the current stock. This is particularly relevant when market prices are fluctuating.
Contact our team at Australia Scaffolding & Formwork for further information. We possess a decade of experience supplying scaffolding material to tier-one construction sites.