Using Scaffolding Structures – An Overview

  • Scaffolding structures have found an integral place in the construction industry. They are also used widely for different applications across various other industries. The abundance of scaffolding companies in South Africa has further boosted the use of the structures through easy availability. However, there are a few things that one must consider when using a scaffolding structure. These are essential to minimise the risks associated with it and to guarantee the safety of the workers. Here are some key points that define scaffold usage: (Information credit:


    1. When is it necessary to use a scaffold – Every application has a unique requirement. If you are planning to fix a broken low-lying roof, you might be able to get it done with a ladder. However, if you are planning to conduct exterior maintenance on a 20-storey building, you will have to set-up a scaffolding structure. The use of the scaffold will depend on the height of the job, the risk involved, and the kind of work. Proper scaffolding is necessary to minimise risk.


    2. Deciding on the kind of scaffolding – Scaffold structures are generally available in two kinds – self-lock and kwikstage scaffolding. For most applications, the standard configurations will serve the purpose and can be built to the predefined design. However, for some applications where the standard configuration will not serve the purpose. In such cases, a qualified designer or contractor must build a customised design ensuring the rigidity, strength and stability of the structure.


    3. The necessity of a licence – If the scaffold remains entirely within the boundaries of the property, you will not need a licence. You will need to obtain a licence from the local authorities if any part of the structure goes out of boundaries. If the work poses a risk to the public around the area, you will have to schedule the work during quiet times. In some cases, you might need to obtain a road closure from the local authorities.


    4. Erecting the structure – The scaffolding structure should be put up only by a scaffolding contractor or a builder who is competent and trained to erect it. They must possess the required knowledge, experience and skills to ensure the safety and reliability of the structure.


    5. Scaffolding inspection – As per the safety codes, the scaffolding structures must be inspected from time to time to ensure that the structure is completely safe to use. As per the requirements, the structure must be checked before erection, after erection, once a week when the scaffold is in use and after any damages, alterations or extreme weather exposure.


    6. Workers insurance – Since the workers are exposed to a great amount of risk of fall injuries and accidents, they must have insurance that covers those risks. They should also be able to cover the costs of treatment of any injured passer-by due to a falling tool or any other accident.


    These are some key points that need to be taken care of when using a scaffolding structure. Abiding by these pointers will ensure a pleasant scaffolding experience.