When completing tasks in areas that are above the head, it is necessary to use special equipment to assist with reaching those areas. While ladders can be useful, scaffolding helps to make the task easier, safer and more time efficient.
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Scaffolding is similar to a ladder in that it allows the user to reach elevated ladders. Unlike a ladder, scaffolding features a large platform on which the user can walk and store materials. By providing this platform at an elevated area, the user does not need to climb up and down a ladder to reposition it when performing tasks such as painting or hanging drywall.
Application: When choosing scaffolding, you need to consider if the equipment will be used for indoor or outdoor applications. If it is to be used outdoors, scaffolding that is weather-resistant is necessary. For indoor use, scaffolding that can pass through doorframes may be the best option because it will make it easier to transport the scaffolding from one worksite to the next.
Materials: Scaffolding is typically available in either aluminum or steel, with steel generally being the more heavy-duty option and aluminum being the lighter option.
Height/Reach: When considering the height that is necessary, don’t forget to consider the height of the person who will be using the scaffolding. In addition, consider whether or not the scaffolding can be stacked in order to achieve greater heights in the future if needed.
Duty Rating: The duty rating refers to the amount of weight that can be placed on the scaffolding. Be sure to consider the weight of the user as well as the weight of materials, tools, and equipment that will be placed on the scaffolding.
Safety Concerns: Since using scaffolding involves completing work tasks from an elevated position, there is always the risk of losing balance and falling from the scaffold. Failure to lock the casters in place can also cause the scaffolding to move while in use.
Scaffolding can be used anytime it is necessary to complete a task from an elevated position. While a ladder is probably a better option for tasks such as changing a light bulb, scaffolding is helpful when working on projects that require remaining in an elevated position for a long period of time or when completing tasks that may require a great deal of back and forth movement, such as hanging drywall, installing a ceiling or painting the exterior or interior of a home or building. Not only does scaffolding provide the necessary space to move around when completing these tasks, but it also provides an area where equipment and other materials can be kept within easy reach.
When using scaffolding, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly and for locking all of the components in place before use. For added safety, consider purchasing outriggers or guardrails for the scaffolding. Outriggers help to create a broader base for the scaffolding, thereby creating more stability while guardrails provide an extra level of security to help prevent accidental falls.