by Frederike Berg
How to prepare your scaffold for stormy weather
For scaffolders, the start of autumn also means preparing for a new set of hazards. Many regions are now experiencing more and more storms and strong winds, which make some additional measures necessary to keep construction sites safe. And, at best, they are in place even before the first storm is approaching.
If you haven't already done so, it's now slowly but surely time to make your scaffolding as storm- and wind-proof as possible. We have summarised some of the measures that you can take to do this here.
Consider weather influences in your risk assessment
Storm-proofing your scaffold starts before you even assemble the first ledger. Before the scaffolding is erected, a risk assessment is carried out on site to determine what safety measures need to be taken for the scaffolding. And this also includes the weather conditions to which the scaffolding may be exposed.
Scaffolding planning should be carried out as usual in accordance with the scaffolding manufacturer's erection manual and local safety regulations. If the risk assessment indicates that the scaffold may be exposed to higher wind loads, you should also check the following
- Whether it is safe to use tarpaulins or other construction site protection systems.
- How anchors or ties and bracing need to be correctly positioned to withstand higher wind loads.
- Whether scaffold decks with anti-lift devices need to be used to prevent displacement and complete lifting of scaffold components, even during storms.
- Whether the scaffold foundation can safely support the loads of the scaffold, even during heavy rainfall caused by storms.
The results of the risk assessment are important not only for the planning of the scaffolding itself, but also for planning procedures in case of dangerous weather conditions. Each person working on the scaffold should be trained in fall protection and the applicable safety regulations. This is particularly important when there is an increased safety risk due to high winds. The risk assessment will also identify what action should be taken in the event of an impending storm, and who in the team should initiate any work stoppage in risky weather conditions.
Final preparations just before the storm
If a storm or high winds are forecast for your area, it is important to prepare your scaffolding well in advance. For example, make sure that
- all decks are adequately secured and cannot be lifted by the wind. This can be achieved, for example, by using couplers to hold the decks in place, or by having anti-lift devices built into the deck.
- tarpaulins, nets or temporary roofing are adequately secured or removed if they pose a risk to the stability of the scaffold due to high wind loads.
- there are no loose materials, tools, equipment or other movable parts on or around the scaffold.
But even if the storm is already sweeping over your construction site and as soon as it calms down again, there are things you can do to significantly contribute to everyone’s safety on the construction site. Read more about it in our upcoming blog post.
For more information on safety regulations and best practices, see our blog articles below.
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