02/04/2010

Safety Not Suspended on Platforms

We've seen those who work high above the ground, suspended on platforms as they
construct buildings, wash windows or make repairs.

Types of suspended work platforms

Swing stages are the most commonly used suspended work platforms (suspended
platforms or suspended scaffolds). They are used for window cleaning or
conducting repairs to the exterior of buildings and consist of a work platform,
guardrails and a suspension system.

Multi point suspended scaffolds are specialized suspended work platforms that
have specific design and operational requirements.

Hazard

The most significant hazard associated with swing stages is workers falling
from height. Workers can also fall if the swing stage over-turns because the
counterweight does not have the adequate weight or if point of support at the
edge of the building fails. The swing stage can also collapse if it is
overloaded, the platforms are not attached properly, or if the motors,
platforms or wire ropes are damaged from exposure to chemicals or corrosive
materials, or not properly maintained.

Hazard Controls

Employers and supervisors are required to take every precaution reasonable in
the circumstances to ensure the health and safety of workers. The MOL outlined
the following guidance to control the hazards.

Proper training: Workers working on a suspended platform or suspended scaffold
who may use a fall protection system must receive comprehensive fall protection
training. They must also be trained how to use and inspect the platform or
scaffold.

Fall arrest system: A worker who is on - or is getting on or off - a suspended
platform or suspended scaffold must wear a full body harness. The harness must
be connected to a fall arrest system with an independent lifeline, or that is
securely fastened to a suspended platform or scaffold that has more than one
independent means of support.

Proper design, construction and use of equipment: Every suspended platform or
suspended scaffold must be installed, maintained and used according to all
safety regulations, standards and the manufacturer's specifications. The
platform must not be overloaded. Equipment must be maintained in a condition
that does not endanger a worker. Scaffolds with more than one platform or that
exceed weights prescribed in safety regulations must be designed, erected and
inspected according to applicable regulations.

Maintenance of equipment, materials and protective devices: Employers must
ensure that the equipment, materials and protective devices are maintained in
good condition.

Proper inspection of equipment: Suspended platforms or suspended scaffolds must
be inspected by a competent worker each day and before they are used, and at
the start of each shift.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety