Lower cost and improve productivity at work with Ergonomics…

What is Ergonomics? It is the science of designing a workplace with the capabilities and limitations of your employees at the forefront. Poor worksite design leads to fatigued, frustrated employees which can consequently leads to poor performance, productivity and potentially injury. Ergonomics is concerned with the relationship between people, the tasks they undertake, the equipment they use and the environments in which they work. It aims to put people first, taking account of their capabilities and limitations. Applying ergonomics in the workplace reduces the likelihood of accidents, the potential for injury and ill health such as aches and pains of the wrists, shoulders and back.

Therefore, a systematic workplace ergonomics improvement process removes risk factors that lead to injuries and allows for improved human performance and productivity and therefore lowers cost.

In a nutshell, a proactive approach to Ergonomics is a strategic continuous improvement process that makes a positive impact on the entire business.

Here are some of the positive benefits;

 

  1. Ergonomics reduces costs.

By reducing ergonomic risk factors, you can ensure you prevent costs associated with any employee injuries which can be prohibitive.

 

  1. Ergonomics improves productivity.

By designing a workplace to allow for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions and better heights and reaches, the workstation becomes more efficient and therefore employee productivity.

 

  1. Ergonomics improves quality.

Poor ergonomics leads to frustrated and fatigued workers that don’t do their best work. In particular, when a job task is too physically taxing on an employee, they may not perform their job like they were trained too.

 

  1. Ergonomics improves employee engagement.

When companies put forward their best efforts to ensure health and safety, employees notice. If an employee does not experience fatigue and discomfort during their workday, it can reduce turnover, decrease absenteeism, improve morale and increase employee involvement.

 

  1. Ergonomics creates a better safety culture.

Ergonomics promotes a stronger safety culture in your organsations and shows your commitment to safety and health as a core value. Healthy employees are your most valuable asset; creating and fostering the safety & health culture at your company will lead to better human performance and lower costs for your organisation.

 

Ayrton Group can carry out an effective Ergonomics Risk Assessment for your organisation and employees, please contact us for more information.

 

Hidden dangers: is seeing believing when it comes to office health and safety?

Key to the successful delivery of any health and safety programme is the willingness of staff to take the initiative when identifying workplace hazards. However, while inappropriately placed boxes and exposed wiring present obvious safety risks, there are also many invisible dangers that staff may not be aware of but can prove equally harmful. In order to safeguard the workforce, it is essential that health and safety representatives do not let hidden hazards slip from their mind and ensure that workers are aware of and know how to mitigate these risks as part of a comprehensive workplace safety programme.

Carbon monoxide

With the potential to cause long-term health problems such as brain damage and paralysis, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning presents one of the most serious threats to employee safety. Often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, the colourless and odourless nature of CO means that the presence of this gas often does not become evident until staff start to display symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The fact that symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of someone with a hangover or the flu means that it can be easy to mistake a potentially life-threatening gas leak for something less serious. As well as ensuring that employees are able to recognise the warning signs in colleagues at an early stage, businesses can significantly reduce the chance of staff being exposed to carbon monoxide by engaging a Gas Safe Registered engineer for the correct installation and maintenance of gas appliances. Carbon Monoxide monitors should be placed around the premises as a course of habit.

Bacteria

Recent analysis from Vitality estimates that workplace sickness costs the UK economy £73bn per year, so it is essential that employees are encouraged to recognise the important role they play in reducing the spread of bacteria. One way companies can achieve this is by implementing a strict policy stipulating that workers stay at home when ill. However, in order to prevent outbreaks of sickness occurring in the first place, a thorough approach to hygiene and sanitation should be adopted. The average person carries from two to ten million bacteria between their fingertip and elbow, which if left without treatment can quickly cause common illnesses such as colds, flu and stomach complaints.

Appropriate office signage can play a key role in the prevention of illness, reminding staff to wash their hands in critical areas such as bathrooms and food preparation points. With many busy employees often tempted to perform a ‘splash and dash’ when visiting the bathroom, businesses should also consider educating staff about correct hand-washing techniques in order to reduce breakouts of illness and boost employee attendance levels.

Manual handling

There are two main types of hazard posed by the office environment; mobile and static risks. While static risks, such as incorrectly placed items, are often a first focus point for those implementing health and safety plans, mobile risks such as incorrect carrying, lifting and handling can be more difficult to monitor. Ensuring that employees are aware of correct manual handling techniques is essential to avoid potential skeletal and muscular damage. As well as making sure that a full training session in this area forms part of every worker’s company induction programme, health and safety representatives should invest time in refreshing employees’ knowledge at regular intervals to minimise the likelihood of an incident occurring.

In order to minimise workplace accidents, businesses should aim to make hidden health and safety risks an engaging and relevant topic. As well as regularly emphasising the implications of not following correct procedures, updating the entire workforce on developments in policy is important for creating a culture of shared responsibility. However, while effective, company-wide communication is a powerful tool in the battle against invisible workplace hazards, businesses should ultimately aim to eliminate health and safety hazards altogether. By ensuring that out of sight is not out of mind when it comes to the office’s hidden dangers, companies can meet their responsibility for employee wellbeing whilst reducing any costly disruption to operations.

Office Depot Nigel Crunden

Nigel Crunden is a business specialist at business solutions provider Office Depot.

5 things you should know about MEWP’s!

What are MEWPs?

It’s a mobile machine, basically a Cherry Picker, Scissor Lift, Boom Lift or any other work platforms that are elevated off the ground.

 

Why do we use MEWPs?

They are quickly replacing the likes or ladders and scaffolds as a preferred method of access. It is used to move persons to working positions where they are carrying out work from the work platform and consists at a minimum of a work platform with controls, an extending structure and a chassis.

 

What should we be aware of when using MEWPs?

Sufficient training for operators is key, it’s not just about knowing how to use them but developing an understanding of the safety precautions to be able to anticipate any difficulties. Most often than not, employees are asked to use them without any formal training which does means not being compliant with safety regulations. MEWP operators should have attended a recognised operator training course and received a certificate, card or ‘licence’, listing the categories of MEWP the bearer is trained to operate.

 

How do the most fatal and serious injuries involving MWEPs arise?

Entrapment: operator can get trapped between part of the basket and a fixed structure

Overturning: the machine may overturn throwing the operator from the basket

Falling: an operator may fall from the basket during work activities

Collision: the vehicle may collide with pedestrians, overhead cables or nearby vehicles.

 

Why is training important?

Training helps prevent accidents which are costly to any workplace. It also increases safety awareness overall which brings commercial benefit in terms of having more educated and informed employees and it also enhances productivity.

 

Ayrton Group can provide you with the best quality MEWP training available on the market, Nationwide, almost instantly and at very competitive rates.

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure Doesn’t Have to Turn into Stress

by Nicholas Petrie

When I was in my late twenties, I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Doctors operated and told me to hope for the best. I returned to Japan, where I was working, and tried to forget about it. The tumors returned a year later, this time in my liver. After a long search, the surgeons found a new procedure to remove them, but I knew this was, again, perhaps only a temporary fix. I was a mess for the next six months. The hardest part of my illness was my constant anxiety about it coming back.

Then I met a man who changed my outlook. Dr. Derek Roger had spent 30 years researching why some people in difficult situations become overwhelmed, while others persevere. He taught me everything he’d learned, and as I started applying it, my anxiety subsided, even though my situation didn’t change. In fact, the cancer came back about five years ago and remains relatively stable in my liver. But I no longer worry about it. Derek became my mentor, and over the past 10 years we have trained thousands of leaders to overcome their stress.

The process starts with understanding that stress is caused not by other people or external events, but by your reactions to them. In the workplace, many people blame their high anxiety levels on a boss, job, deadlines, or competing commitments for their time. But peers who face the same challenges do so without stress. Derek and I often meet executives who have high levels of pressure but low levels of stress, and vice versa.

Pressure is not stress. But the former is converted to the latter when you add one ingredient: rumination, the tendency to keep rethinking past or future events, while attaching negative emotion to those thoughts. Of course, leaders must practice reflection — planning for the future or reviewing past lessons — but this is an analytical, short-term process, with positive fallout. Rumination is ongoing and destructive, diminishing your health, productivity, and well-being. Chronic worriers show increased incidence of coronary problems and suppressed immune functioning. Dwelling on the past or the future also takes us away from the present, rendering us unable to complete the work currently on our plates. If you ask ruminators how they are feeling, none will say “happy.” Most feel miserable.

To break this stress-inducing habit, Derek and I recommend four steps:

Wake up. People spend most of their day in a state called “waking sleep.” This is when you pull into the office parking lot but can’t remember the drive there, or when someone in a meeting asks for your opinion but you’ve missed the last few minutes of conversation. Since all rumination happens during this state, the first step is to break out of it. You can do this physically: Stand or sit up, clap your hands, and move your body. Or you can do it mentally: Connect with your senses by noticing what you can hear, see, smell, taste, and feel. The idea is to reconnect with the world.

Control your attention. When you ruminate, your attention gets caught in an unproductive loop, like a hamster on a wheel. You need to redirect yourself to areas in which you can take useful action. Here’s one exercise we encourage executives to use: Draw a circle on a page, and write down all of the things you can control or influence inside it and all of things you cannot outside if it. Remind yourself that you can care about externalities — your work, your team, your family — without worrying about them.

Put things in perspective. Ruminators tend to catastrophize, but resilient leaders keep things in perspective for themselves and their teams. We tell people to try three techniques: contrasting (comparing a past stress to the current one, i.e., a major illness versus a missed sale), questioning (asking yourself “How much will this matter in three years’ time?” and “What’s the worst that could happen?” and “How would I survive it?”) and reframing (looking at your challenge from a new angle: “What’s an opportunity in this situation I haven’t yet seen?” or even “What’s funny about this situation?”)

Let go. The final step is often the hardest. If it was easy to let it go, we would have done it already. We find that three techniques help. The first is acceptance: Acknowledge that whether you like the situation or not, it is the way it is. The second is learning the lesson. Your brain will review events until it feels you’ve gained something from them, so ask yourself, “What have I learned from this experience?” The third is action. Sometimes the real solution is not to relax, but to do something about your situation. Ask yourself, “What action is required here?

While struggling with cancer, it took me a couple of years to train myself to follow these steps. But ultimately it worked. My stress levels went down, my health improved, and my career took off. More heartening, I discovered that everything Derek had taught me could be taught to others, with similar results.

Men’s Health Awareness Month – workplace stress busters

November sees Men’s Health Awareness Month, led by The Movember Foundation; a global charity committed to men living happier, healthier, longer lives. You can read more about it here

Today, we write about mental health which is a key focus for men this month. Men experience worse longer-term health than women and die on average six years earlier. In addition, poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year.

Everyone’s job is stressful in its own way, whether you are office or site based, but what makes the difference is the way you respond to these situations. Also more physically demanding jobs like working in construction can more often than not be associated with more physical affects on our health and the affects on our mental wellbeing gets forgotten.

It’s normal to get stressed or down over work issues, we’ve all been there. But we sometimes need to take a step back and look at how we respond to stressful situations, to avoid it affecting our mental wellbeing.

Here are 5 stress busters to help you get through the day happily and stress-free!

1. Label your feelings. Sometimes, just admitting your feelings can calm you down. Try to figure out what that negative emotion is and just boil it down to two words. Thinking to yourself “I’m overwhelmed” or “I’m frazzled” can surprisingly go a long way into calming yourself down. Also focus on the positive aspects of your day, even if they’re only small, to lift your mood and help you focus on other problems.

2. Take a breath. Yes this might seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to breathe slowly & deeply. Before reacting to the next stressful occurrence, take three deep breaths and release them slowly. If you have a few minutes, try out a relaxation technique such as meditation.

3. Grub. Food glorious food! Now we don’t mean go out and buy a box of donuts (although that’s definitley an option!) but sometimes, stress can be seriously intensified by certain mundane things—like taking care of your physical needs. If your
blood sugar level is low, eating can help turn your bad mood around after just a few bites. Fatty acids and spicy foods might even help a little extra. Go out and buy your favourite lunch, it will help big time!

4. Laugh out loud! We all know laughing can put us in a better mood, but it’s a better stress cure than you may realize. Studies show that people who laugh the “most heartily,” show bigger drops in stress levels. Laughter really is the best medicine, and while it isn’t always possible to plop down on the couch and watch your favorite comedy, you can surround your self with upbeat, positive and comedic people when feeling the crunch of stress.

5. Run and Exercise. Yep, would be everyone’s first choice. Going hell for leather on a treadmill isn’t everyones cup of tea, or doing that gym class your mates keep going on about isn’t for you. BUT exercising is good for the body AND mind. Exercise prepares your body for stress, because your body thinks you’re in a stressful situation. So, your brain releases chemicals to help fight that stress, which is why you feel that endorphin high after you’re finished. Even if it’s short, get a little exercise in and you’ll feel much better.

 

Mental health focus: Top ten tips for stress busting

By Lauren Applebey

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www.Ayrton.ie/course/stress-management/

If you’re stressed at work or in your personal life, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause. Here NHS Choices gives its top ten tips for beating stress.

The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.

“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster. “Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.”

He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook.

What you can do to address stress – Professor Cooper’s top ten stress-busting suggestions:

Be active

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you to deal with your problems more calmly.

For more advice, read how being active helps mental wellbeing.

Take control

There’s a solution to any problem. “If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper. “That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.

Read tips on how to manage your time.

Connect with people

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.

“If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help,” says Professor Cooper.

The activities we do with friends help us relax. We often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.

“Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper.

Have some ‘me time’

In the UK, they work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.

“We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper.

He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work. “By earmarking those two days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime,” he says.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.

“By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person,” says Professor Cooper. “It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.”

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. “Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.”

Over the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones. “It’s like putting your head in the sand,” says Professor Cooper. “It might provide temporary relief, but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.”

Help other people

Professor Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient.

“Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,” says Professor Cooper. “The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.”

If you don’t have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues.

Work smarter, not harder

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference. “Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.”

Try to be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful.

“People don’t always appreciate what they have,” says Professor Cooper. “Try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,” he says.

Try writing down three things that went well, or for which you’re grateful, at the end of every day.

Accept the things you can’t change

Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.

“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.

“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”

6 Workplace Health & Safety Myths and Facts

Myth 1: “Complying with health and safety costs a lot of money.”

Fact: Managing health & safety does not need to be expensive for most small and medium-sized businesses.  The truth is, taking safety measures through safety training and adhering to compliance laws may cost you some money upfront, but it saves you more money and lives in the long run. The costs associated with work-related injuries and illness — sick pay, fines, legal costs and repairs — depending on the accident and injury, have the potential to be astronomical in comparison to the initial outlay.

 

Myth 2: “Health and safety … that’s just common sense.” 

Fact: Your common sense will only take you so far and that depends how good it is in the first place! But seriously, it might go a long way in keeping you relatively safe in your daily activities outside of the workplace and critical thinking is important in assessing hazards and risks in your workplace. However, the hazards and risks your employees face on the job are trickier and the consequences are more severe than what you confront on an average day. Carrying out the right safety training goes a long way in preventing accidents from occurring.

 

Myth 3: Manual Handling training, sure that’s been told how to lift a box properly!

Fact: If it was that easy no one would be getting injured in the process! Manual handling training is not necessary for all staff, and is not a one-size-fits-all type of course. Training needs to be specific and relevant to the tasks carried out by employees. For example, employees whose job includes moving heavy barrels around a warehouse need training that reflects exactly that. In fact, sending workers whose only ‘manual handling’ involves lifting light loads at waist height to a manual handling training would indeed be a waste of time!

 

Myth 4: “Accidents just happen — you cannot create a hazard-free workplace”

Fact: Research shows that over 99% of all accidents are preventable. Safety is an action word and requires you to do something through leadership. All workplaces should be targeting zero injuries and whilst situations do change over time which makes it difficult to identify and control hazards, all that means is your workplace safety efforts must be disciplined and diligent. Our moto is ‘Know Safety, No Accidents’ and trust us it is true!

 

Myth 5: “My employees are just careless.”

Fact: The cause of almost all workplace injuries and illness is unsafe practices. The only way to avoid them is through safety training, supervision, and other system changes.

Employees do unsafe things because either they don’t know their behavior is unsafe or they may perceive a payoff for their unsafe behavior (such as a temporary gain in production speed). You have to address safety regularly and consistently. Safety is not a one-shot deal but an ongoing, daily effort.

 

Myth 6:  If I work in an office, I won’t get Injured

Think again! Working in an office environment can put stress on both the mind and the body. Working indoors, in a seated position all day, can lead to a whole host of injuries, including: back and neck pain, vision strains and pain in the hands and wrists. There are a host of hazards that could be lurking in your office, such as tripping over a piece of furniture, electrical wires, loose carpeting or slipping on wet floors and event using a chair in place of a ladder.

Know Safety, No Accidents

Safety Fines vs. the Cost of Compliance

Takeaway: A recent study shows that the cost of a health and safety fine in the UK far outweighs the expense of ensuring compliance.

All businesses are required to invest in health and safety systems and planning to some degree—but do you know the difference between your average spending on compliance and how much you could potentially be fined for negligence? New research from the health and safety consultants at Arinite provides an answer. Their study revealed that, in 2016, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that invested in health and safety avoided a fine that would have potentially cost them £75k more than the cost of ensuring compliance.

According to the latest prosecution data from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), businesses paid an average of £115,440 in fines when found guilty of a health and safety breach in 2016. In contrast, the cost of health and safety compliance for SMEs in 2016 ranged between £5k and £40k.

The manufacturing and construction industries typically get the largest volume of fines simply due to the nature of the work, which involves working from height, working with gas, and other dangerous activities. But the average fine in utilities and extractive industries was far higher than all other industries. As the graph below shows, while there were only 18 incidents in utility industries, the average fine was £409,729—well below the industry-wide average of £115,440.

Health and Safety Fines vs. the Cost of Compliance

A total of £32,438,677 worth of fines were issued in 2016 across the UK. Half of those were issued in the manufacturing industry (£16,816,673), followed by extractive and utility supply companies (£7,375,120), and then construction (£4,824,983).

This data, moreover, only shows the prosecution costs. Bear in mind that health and safety failures never only result in a fine. A major accident will also incur the total cost of injuries and ill health sustained to workers, as well as the PR costs when these offenses make national headlines (learn How to Look After You Business’ Safety Reputation). The HSE estimate that the total cost of injuries and ill health from working conditions in 2014/15 was £14.1 billion, £2.8 billion of which were covered by the employer.

Why Invest in Health and Safety Compliance?

There are many reasons a business should invest in health and safety, above and beyond the cost of a breach fine. Moral duty and concern for staff, for example, are themselves strong reasons for investing in compliance (for a related discussion, see The Moral Safety Compass). Company policy and simple common sense also play a part, particularly in industries where health and safety planning is an everyday fact (as is the case in manufacturing and construction, for example).

Negative health and safety publicity is also something all companies strongly want to avoid. There have been high-profile cases in the past year in which a breach may have damaged a company’s reputation beyond repair. The Smiler roller coaster horror crash at Alton Towers theme park was the country’s biggest health and safety incident of the year, costing two teenagers their legs and leaving the company with a £5 million fine.

With all these reasons in favor of health and safety compliance, why do many companies still fail to comply? Almost all major organizations are likely to have a written health and safety policy, an accident reporting system, and a designated health and safety role or person (see How Many Safety Pros Do You Need to Hire? to find out whether you are adequately staffed). Most accidents are entirely avoidable, and while investment is a factor in preventing them, simple communication between employees and fostering a culture of safety are the most effective ways to save lives in the workplace.

Tips for Avoiding a Heavy Health and Safety Fine

It can be tough to judge exactly how compliant one is as a company. Helpfully, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has provided specific advice on how businesses can prevent and reduce the cost of a fine.

They note that the main factors increasing the seriousness of an offense include:

  • Cost-cutting at the expense of safety
  • Deliberate concealment of illegal activity
  • Breaching a court order
  • Obstruction of justice
  • A poor health and safety record

They also outline a series of factors that could help reduce the seriousness of the offense and, as a result, reduce the heft of the fine:

  • Effective health and safety procedures in place
  • Evidence of steps taken voluntarily to remedy a problem
  • A high level of cooperation with the investigation
  • A good health and safety record, without previous convictions

In 2017, it might be worth reviewing your organization’s safety practices and ensuring compliance above and beyond the standard set in previous years. While health and safety breach fines continue to dog a number of companies, the cost of compliance has remained relatively low, making it the obvious choice.

 

 

Working safely at heights with scaffolds


The good news is that, for the last five years in the UK, fewer injuries are occurring from scaffolding accidents. 2017 represented an all-time low for injuries resulting from falls from scaffolds. However, this still means that there were 89 injuries from scaffolding use. That’s 89 injuries too many. The statistics for Ireland are harder to define, and the most recent available are from 2016, however there is a general downward trend over the years as well, which is good news.

These reductions in injury are, without a doubt, a positive development. However, there is still a long way to go in ensuring working with scaffolds is always safe. As such, working at height is one of the primary areas we’re concentrating on during our upcoming Safety Week, with Monday 22nd October being dedicated to this area of Health and Safety.

Working safely with scaffolds
A key piece of information, for those in the construction trade, is the code of practice produced by the Health and Safety Authority.

Fundamentally, before considering human behaviours, we need to consider the scaffold design itself. This is set out within the code of practice, but ensures such things as careful calculation of the design by a skilled and competent individual. They are trained to understand the elements of design which affect rigidity, stability and strength. This is a skilled task.

Attention needs to be given to the three stages of scaffold use: erection, duration and dismantling. Safety needs to be considered at each of these points independently. Furthermore, scaffolding should always be fit for its intended purpose, and never a ‘make do’ situation.

Ensuring that the scaffold itself is actually secure to work on is just the first hurdle. It is vital to remember that these are working platforms. They are only fit for purpose if construction workers can fully perform their tasks safely.

Workers using scaffolds
To minimise the risk of injury involving scaffolding, individual workers also need to be equipped with both the protective equipment they need, but also the knowledge to work on scaffolding safely.

Our top recommendations for working safely with scaffolds:

  • Always get appropriate training before using a scaffold, and take responsibility for training those who work for you. This is a skilled task that requires a broad understanding of risk and hazards. Workers should be trained to understand crucial things such as load capacities.

  • Always ensure a scaffold has undergone a safety check before mounting. A competent trained individual should check the entire scaffold regularly during the construction period.

  • Always wear a hard hat both on the scaffold, and when working in its vicinity. This is particularly vital if you are working underneath the scaffold at any point. Small items dropped from height have the potential to cause big injuries.

  • Always wear sturdy boots to ensure safe footing.

  • Always use tool lanyards to keep tools safe and not at risk of causing a hazard.

  • Always be aware of who else is on or near the scaffold with you.

  • Always report any concerns to a supervisor.

  • Always keep scaffolding boards clean and free from excessive mud.

  • Always use the fixed ladders for accessing higher platforms.

  • Never leave belongings or tools on a scaffold when they aren’t in use. This includes for breaks or changes in shift. They can be forgotten about and become trip hazards, or blow off in the wind.

  • Never overload a scaffold.

  • Never add additional height to a scaffold by using other items such as boxes or crates. If you cannot reach safely to perform the task, then the scaffold design is not adequate for intended use.

  • Never use scaffolding that is icy, or slippery with mud. Over time, scaffolding boards become more prone to slipping in the wet. To minimise this, use newer scaffolding boards and ensure they are kept clean.

  • Never mount a scaffold which has been tampered with, or left unattended, without a competent assessment of its safety.

  • Never use a scaffold in high winds.

  • Never use the scaffold in a way in which it wasn’t intended, for example climbing on the frame.

  • Never climb the ladders with items in your hands. These should be attached via a tool lanyard, or lifted up the scaffold separately.

To learn more about working safely with scaffolding, click here