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5 safety tips for working on scaffolding

Scaffolding systems are very common in construction and related industries, as they make it easier for workers at heights to do complex jobs. However, like extension ladders, they also introduce a significant safety risk. A fall from any height can be dangerous, resulting in serious injuries and even death.

To help workers stay safe, here are five key safety tips:

  1. Use guardrails. Do not simply stand on the exposed top of the scaffolding, especially if the fall below you would be 10 feet or more -- roughly the length of one story of a residential building.
  2. Get the right training first. Since simple mistakes have such dire consequences, you must know how to use the scaffold safely. Companies sometimes try to skip training to get workers on the job right away, but this can put them in serious danger.
  3. Don't count on the scaffold to hold itself up, even if it seems like it should do so. Secure it properly to the nearest wall to prevent a collapse.
  4. Consider personal protection equipment, such as a rope and harness system. This may not feel as necessary as it does on an exposed ladder, but it should still be used.
  5. Carry out consistent inspections. Look for any little changes or issues. Never just assume that the scaffold will work today because it did yesterday. Safety inspections are needed on a regular basis.

These safety tips can reduce the odds or a serious injury or an accident, but they do not completely prevent these things from occurring. If you get hurt on the job, you need to know all of your workers' comp rights.

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