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After devoting hours to assembling and inspecting a scaffolding system, it may seem confusing as to the purpose of a scaffold tag on the structure. The following article highlights a scaffold tag, its importance, and best practices when using it.
What is a scaffold Tag?
A scaffold tag is a sign attached to all access points to identify if a scaffold is safe or unsafe to use. Construction-related deaths are among the highest of any industry worldwide. Steps must be taken by authorities and builders to reduce the risk of injury to workers, including those near unsafe scaffolding.
Workers unfamiliar with the equipment may be unable to determine the overall safety of a scaffold. The presence of tags informs personnel about the state of a scaffold and potential hazards, such as bent materials or incorrect assembly.
Tags must be present on sections under construction and after initial and future scaffold inspections. They are necessary on all scaffold types, including kwikstage and mobile scaffold.
Scaffold Tag Requirements
There are specific guidelines to follow when utilising scaffold tags:
Scaffold Tag Identification Number
Tags require an identification number for tracking the scaffold and its numerous inspections.
Names & Dates
After each checkup, the scaffold inspector must leave their name and the inspection date for consistent record keeping.
Red, yellow, or green, depending on the state of the scaffold. Black lettering should be used. The latter is not present on all tags, and many regulatory bodies do not care as long as consistency between tags is maintained.
The following information must be present on any tag:
- Company and/or department responsible for correct scaffold installation;
- Company and/or department accountable for scaffold maintenance; and
- Company and/or department responsible for safe dismantling.
Types of Scaffolding Tags
Three different types of tags are available in construction, each colour-coded to reflect the state of the scaffold.
Green scaffold tags indicate a competent person has inspected the scaffolding and deemed it safe to use. The structure has the correct platforms, bracing, and safety measures and is assembled as instructed by the manufacturers.
Green replaces red tags at the end of the inspection once the scaffold has received certification.
The meaning of yellow tags is caution, but it depends on the situation. It could mean:
- The scaffold is modified to fit the requirements of the task and presents a new hazard as a result;
- It is only safe to use in tandem with special equipment, such as fall arrest systems and harnesses, when working at heights;
- It may not meet every safety requirement, and workers need approval from a foreman or supervisor before use.
No matter the reason, a yellow tag should only be temporary and not endure for the entire project. Everything must be done to qualify the scaffold for a green label again as soon as possible.
Red scaffold tags mean stop. In use during assembly, dismantling, or other serious issues, tags remain on the structure when it is left unattended. Bright red highlights that the scaffold is unsafe and no one should be climbing it.
Additional situations where a red tag is essential include structural flaws or serious damage to certain load-bearing components.
Best Practice For Usage
Regular inspections by a competent scaffolder are vital to ensure the effectiveness of the tags. The tag is out-of-date if there have been extreme weather events and no follow-up on the scaffold.
Scaffold tags should be eye-level and at all access points for everyone to see when approaching. Access points include ladders and stair access towers. The idea is to place the tag in an obvious location so no one will miss it and risk climbing on unsafe scaffolding.
Transparent pouches are an excellent trick to protecting your scaffold tags. They will protect against the harsh wind and rain while remaining visible to everyone on-site. Exposed tags risk becoming illegible without adequate protection.
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