Scaffolding is an essential technique for construction, maintenance, and repair work that involves working at height. However, working on scaffolding comes with many hazards, and if proper safety measures are not taken, it can lead to severe accidents and injuries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 73% of scaffolding-related accidents account for injuries and deaths in the construction industry every year.

The importance of scaffold safety cannot be overstated. As a tradesman, it is crucial to be aware of the potential hazards and to take appropriate precautions to prevent accidents. This blog will focus on some of the common scaffolding accidents that occur and discuss effective prevention methods to keep workers safe. Get a free quote on scaffolding insurance by contacting Tradies365.

Scaffolding Hazards

To ensure the safety of workers, it is crucial to recognise and mitigate the potential hazards associated with working on scaffolding. Here are the common causes of scaffolding accidents and the protective measures to be taken:

  1. Falls: Falls from scaffolding are the most significant hazard, accounting for the majority of scaffolding-related injuries and fatalities. Proper fall protection measures must be taken, such as the use of guardrails, safety harnesses, and lanyards.
  2. Collapse: Scaffolding collapse can occur due to several reasons, such as improper installation or overloading. The scaffold must be installed correctly, with proper bracing and anchoring, and not exceed the recommended weight capacity. A daily inspection must be carried out to ensure the scaffold remains in good condition.
  3. Electrical hazards: Working on or near electrical lines while on scaffolding can result in electrocution or electric shock. Workers must be trained in safe electrical practices, and scaffolds must be kept at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  4. Struck-by hazards: Struck-by hazards can occur when objects fall from the scaffold onto workers or when workers are hit by moving objects. Hard hats must be worn, and toe boards must be in place to prevent objects from falling off the scaffold.
  5. Overloading: Overloading of the scaffold can lead to collapse or tip-over. The scaffold must not exceed the recommended weight limit, and the weight distribution must be even. Workers must be trained to recognise the signs of overloading and take corrective action.
  6. Slip and trip hazards: Workers can slip and trip on wet or uneven surfaces around the scaffold, leading to falls or other accidents. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the scaffold and surrounding areas can help prevent these hazards.
  7. Weather-related hazards: Strong winds, rain, or snow can make scaffolding unstable and increase the risk of falls or collapse. Workers must be trained to recognise the signs of inclement weather and take appropriate precautions.
  8. Improper use of equipment: Incorrect use of tools and equipment, such as using a scaffold as a ladder, can increase the risk of accidents. Workers must be trained in the proper use of equipment and tools to avoid these hazards.
  9. Chemical hazards: When working on scaffolding, workers may come into contact with hazardous chemicals, such as paint or solvents, which can cause skin or respiratory irritation. Proper personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, must be worn to prevent exposure to these hazards.
  10. Fatigue and stress-related hazards: Working on scaffolding for long periods can be physically and mentally exhausting, leading to fatigue and stress-related hazards. Employers must ensure that workers take adequate breaks and that work schedules are not too demanding, which can reduce the risk of accidents.

Read our blog to learn more about the risks of working without insurance.

Scaffolding vehicle

Preventing Scaffolding Accidents

A. Scaffolding Precautions

To prevent scaffolding accidents, it’s essential to take precautions to mitigate the hazards. Here are some precautions that can be taken:

  1. Proper installation and maintenance of scaffolding: Proper installation and maintenance of scaffolding can prevent collapse and tip-over. Daily inspections must be carried out to ensure the scaffold remains in good condition.
  2. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE): Workers must wear the appropriate PPE, such as hard hats, safety harnesses, and lanyards, to prevent falls and other accidents.
  3. Training and certification of workers: Workers must be trained in the proper use of scaffolding and the associated hazards. Certification can also ensure that workers have the necessary knowledge and skills to work on scaffolding safely.

B. Scaffolding Hazards and Controls

To prevent accidents, the hazards associated with scaffolding must be controlled. Here are some controls that can be put in place:

  1. Guardrails and toe boards: Guardrails and toe boards prevent falls and protect workers from being struck by objects falling from the scaffold.
  2. Proper scaffold planking: The scaffold planking must be strong and level to prevent collapse and tip-over.
  3. Safe access and egress: Safe access and egress to the scaffold must be provided to prevent falls and other accidents.
  4. Safe electrical practices: Workers must be trained in safe electrical practices to prevent electrocution or electric shock.

C. Scaffold Safety Rules

To ensure the safety of workers, specific safety rules must be followed. Here are some scaffold safety rules that must be observed:

  1. Daily inspection of scaffolding
  2. Use of proper scaffolding equipment such as ladders and planks, to prevent falls and other accidents.
  3. Prohibition of unauthorised workers on scaffolding to prevent overcrowding and overloading.
  4. Procedures for severe weather conditions must be in place for severe weather conditions, such as strong winds or lightning, to prevent accidents.

Read our blog to know more about general safety rules when going to work.

Tradesman Insurance for Scaffolding Accidents

Scaffolding accidents, in particular, are a common occurrence in the construction industry and can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. Such accidents can lead to significant financial losses for both the tradesman and the client, including medical expenses, property damage, and legal costs.

Scaffolding insurance provides a safety net to protect against these risks and to ensure that contractors and tradesmen are adequately covered in the event of an accident or incident. It is a crucial investment for anyone involved in the construction industry and can provide peace of mind for both the tradesman and their clients.

Click here to learn about what other types of insurance builders might need.

B. Types of Coverage and benefits

Scaffolding insurance can provide coverage for a range of risks associated with scaffolding work, including:

  • Accidental damage to scaffolding
  • Personal injury to workers or third parties caused by scaffolding
  • Damage to property caused by scaffolding

Benefits of scaffolding insurance can include:

  • Access to expert advice and support on scaffolding safety and risk management
  • Assistance with scaffolding maintenance and repair
  • Emergency response services in the event of a scaffolding accident
  • Compensation for any financial losses incurred as a result of a scaffolding accident or damage to scaffolding

Factors that affect coverage and premiums

The coverage and premiums of builders and tradesmen’s insurance policies depend on various factors, such as the size and nature of the business, the level of risk, the number of employees, and the types of services offered.

scaffolding work

In conclusion, Scaffolding Insurance is an essential investment for anyone involved in the construction industry. It provides protection against a range of risks and ensures that contractors and tradesmen are adequately covered in the event of an accident or incident. 

If you are a builder or tradesman in Australia, Tradies 365 Insurance Services can assist with complete scaffolding insurance coverage for your business. With several years of experience in the insurance industry, we understand the unique risks and challenges faced by builders and tradesmen and can tailor an insurance solution to meet your specific needs. 

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you protect your business.


Note: The material offered here is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legally binding advice and should not be a substitute for a consultation with an insurance expert.