Safety Alert for Scaffolding Components
The Health and Safety Authority is issuing this alert to highlight the importance of ensuring that any scaffolding component used is in safe working order and in an appropriate condition for the task being undertaken. Corroded and rusting scaffolding components can lead to serious issues with the scaffolding’s structural integrity and can lead to catastrophic failures and scaffolding collapses.
Rusting is most prone on non-galvanised scaffolding systems and in particular on the wedge type painted steel scaffolding systems common in Ireland.
A thorough inspection routine must be in place for inspection of scaffolding components to ensure that any components with corrosion or defects that would impact their safe use are removed and not used.
This is particularly important if scaffold elements are coming out of storage having not been in use for some time.
A thorough visual inspection will identify most corrosion, rust and pitting. Other signs of corrosion include loss of weight of the component, reduction in the tube wall thickness, corrosion around welds and on the inner tubes.
Surface rust should be cleared in order to inspect a component correctly. If the component is damaged it needs to be put out of use or repaired by a competent person and repainted.
Note: Sand blasting and painting only of scaffolding components, while reducing further deterioration, does not repair damaged components and may actually hide damage.
Rusted scaffolding components can also cause tetanus which is a serious disease caused by bacteria entering the body through open wounds or cuts.
- Inspection of scaffolding components must be carried out by a competent person and the condition of components should be continually inspected as part of the scaffolding inspection routine.
- Excessively rusted or corroded scaffold should never be used in a scaffold assembly.
- Any defective components should be put out of use or repaired by a competent person.
- The manufacturers manual for all system scaffolds must be available when erecting, modifying and dismantling scaffolds. This should also inform the user in relation to maintaining the scaffold in good order.