by Frederike Berg
Working on the scaffold in autumn? – 5 things that you should bear in mind
The days are getting shorter again, the trees are saying goodbye to their leaves and slowly but surely it is getting uncomfortable outside - you have inevitably already noticed: autumn’s here. And for you in scaffolding, this means not only that you say goodbye to the warm and sunny days of summer, but also that you have to deal with different risk factors on the scaffold. Because like every other season, autumn also holds its own challenges for you. But, as is often the case, preparation is everything. We take this as an opportunity to provide you with an overview of what you should definitely bear in mind during the golden season.
What challenges does autumn bring for scaffolders?
As beautiful as autumn can be with its colourful leaves and the last warm days of the year, storms and rain are in high season here. Strong winds and rain not only mean that surfaces become much more slippery due to wetness and fallen leaves and that your work has to be done with even more caution, but also that objects can fall off the scaffolding more quickly or scaffolding constructions can even become unstable. You cannot change the weather, but you can take some technical precautions to make your work safe.
1. Regular inspections of the scaffold
When it's raining cats and dogs in autumn, it's not only uncomfortable, but can also be a real safety hazard when you're working on the scaffold. For example, the stability of your scaffold can be severely impaired by soggy ground. Storm damage can also make your scaffold suddenly unstable and thus too unsafe for further use, even though everything was still in order the day before. Therefore, your scaffold and its anchors must be inspected after every weather event, be it heavy rain or wind, to ensure that they are in good working order. Read here how you can carry out the regular inspections of your scaffold. To make your scaffold extra stable, you can, for example, attach sturdy wooden boards under each foot of the scaffold to prevent it from sinking into the soggy ground.
2. Minimise the risk of slipping on the scaffold
Especially in autumn, scaffolding can quickly become a slippery matter. Wetness, fallen leaves or mud pose a considerable safety risk, especially when working at heights. The use of decking with an anti-slip profile can help prevent accidents. But no matter which decking you use: You should always ensure that your scaffolding is cleared of potential hazards such as wetness or debris before walking on it. Areas that have a risk of slipping should also be visibly marked as inaccessible.
3. Protection from falling parts from the scaffold
Falling parts are a major safety risk in windy conditions. When scaffold components such as decks or access panels are transported from A to B on the scaffold, they offer a particularly large surface for wind to attack. In addition, the wind force is greater at height than at ground level. It is then easy for workers to lose their balance and for parts to fall uncontrollably from the scaffolding. Therefore, additional measures such as nets should be installed. But even smaller falling parts should not be underestimated. Even a simple rolling ledger picks up speed in a fall and can seriously injure people below. The installation of toe boards can prevent this. Protection devices against lifting also ensure that the deckings stay where they belong and cannot be lifted by the wind. These must be fitted in accordance with the scaffolding manufacturer's erection manual.
4. Safe storage of material on the scaffolding
By storing scaffolding material correctly on the construction site, you can significantly reduce the risk of it falling down. You should secure material against tipping over early and generally not stack material too high to keep the surface of attack for the wind as small as possible.
5. Anchoring the scaffold
Secure anchoring of your scaffolding is essential at all times of the year. With increased wind loads in autumn, you must pay attention to the fact that the anchoring grid also changes considerably, especially with cladded scaffolding. So think about this when planning your scaffolding especially if it is to be equipped with tarpaulins or similar coverings subsequently to protect it from the autumn weather.
No matter what the weather, with the right precautions you are well prepared for autumn. For more information about how your scaffold withstands the harsher conditions in autumn, get in touch with our team.
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