The scaffolding industry in the UK contributes over £4 billion to the national economy and, at its core, are over 6,190 businesses employing just under 40,000 employees. Protecting such a powerful workforce is essential but impossible without understanding the health and safety risks that are unique to this industry.
The two main tools for each business in the sector to address such hazards are professional scaffolding risk assessments and method statements. The two tools go hand in hand and understanding how to perform them and implement them efficiently is crucial for all businesses in the scaffolding industry. Here’s how.
What Is a Scaffolding Risk Assessment?
A scaffolding risk assessment is a procedure that aims at compiling a list of all hazards and risks that workers, managers, contractors, and clients might run while on site. The template, which is likely to come in the form of a table, will have clear sections for each:
- Type of hazard
- Who would be affected by the hazard?
- The level of risk the hazard carries or the likelihood for it to happen
- List of all control and prevention measures the company is taking
- The final risk rating after all prevention and control measures are implemented
The report will also specify the type of activity that is carried out, the name of the client and contractor, the date when the assessment is completed and reviewed, and the site’s location.
How to Perform a Scaffolding Risk Assessment
The simple steps to a comprehensive risk assessment for your scaffolding business include:
Identify of all hazards and risks that could affect anybody on site. These hazards might come in several forms, and they can be physical, mental, chemical, and biological.
Identification of who might be harmed or affected by each hazard and why
Evaluation of the level of risk that each hazard could bring to people, things, and buildings
Evaluation of all prevention and control measures to address each hazard
Record the assessment’s findings and review the risk assessment
What Are Method Statements in Scaffolding?
Scaffolding method statements are policies and procedures that workers must follow to minimise the risk of hazards and accidents in the workplace. They come in the form of a document that describes how each task needs to be handled and carried out to reduce the chances of workplace accidents. Within it, you will also find instructions and guidelines regarding the PPE and precautions necessary.
These can be found in nearly all construction sites and projects and specify the safe work guidelines employees and managers must follow when on site. Generally, method statements are used along with a risk assessment, and they are relevant to specific tasks and projects carried out on site.
While both risk assessments and method statements aim at minimising the risk that specific hazards can bring, the second type of document enhances the information contained in the risk assessment. It does so by offering clear guidelines that workers can follow and refer to.
How to Compile a Method Statement
When compiling a method statement, you should always refer to the risk assessment completed beforehand. The document should include several details regarding the tasks and activities carried out on site. This information should include:
- Details about the projects and all the specific activities and tasks carried out on site
- A comprehensive description of the work carried out on-site, including timeframes, duration of the project, and hours of work.
- Contact and personal details of the assessor and manager
- Hazards associated with each task, site, and environment
- Other documents that refer to the risk assessment and procedures
- The sequence of work, preventive measures, PPE requirements, and risk control strategies
- Details about management, monitoring, first-aid, and welfare arrangements
- Emergency procedures
While a method statement does not need to be lengthy, it needs to be comprehensive and easy to understand for all workers. Pictures, drawings, and schemes are often included to ensure the instructions can be easily understood and remembered.
How Can Health and Safety Software Help?
When it comes down to scaffolding health and safety, no business can ever relax. Indeed, the workforce is at the core of this industry, and an accident could bring severe consequences for the person involved, other individuals, things, and assets. Protecting your workers is crucial to ensure that your business can thrive and trying to streamline this process is necessary.
Investing in scaffolding health and safety software allows you to design, create, and edit your risk assessment and method statement documents anytime you need to. Such high-tech systems ensure that all information is available to anybody on-site in seconds – something that can help you improve the overall level of safety of your business.
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