The scaffolding hazards also change as the season switches from furious wind to scorching heat in the Sydney environment. So, of course, it is ideal to think that the more predictable, dry climate during the summer season would be an advantage for scaffolders in Sydney. Click here to read more about Scaffolding Hazards to watch out for during summer in Sydney.
And sure, it seems a good thought. Since the atmosphere is dry, there would be no slippery surface, no heavy rain that could disturb the workflow, and other factors that may cause scaffolding hazards on site. That’s great!
As much as I know, Aussies are not big fans of soggy boots and limbs. So, summer would always be a good season for all.
However, the summer season can also bring hazards that construction workers would need to prevent as they would in the depths of winter. The truth is, scaffolding hazards never leave; they only transform as the atmosphere changes around us in Sydney. It would help if you kept that vital fact in mind.
We are getting used to the long sunny days during actual summer for many people here in Sydney. Yet, that doesn’t guarantee that construction workers in this world still control some scaffolding hazards.
So, as a construction worker who is just returning to the site, you must be aware of the various scaffolding hazards on-site. That will enable you to take safety measures to protect yourself and other co-workers. So, let’s go and unveil them one after the other.
The most common scaffolding hazards during summer
1. Sunburn and Heatstroke
It is not rocket science, but most people forget it.
The nature of scaffolding means that you’re working outside for an extended period. When UV is far higher, in the summer months, you’re exposing yourself to the risk of sunburn and heatstroke, as well as severe long-term effects such as skin rashes and even skin cancer if you don’t protect yourself.
Even just a pang of heat exhaustion can be a game-changer. If you don’t respond to it on time, it can result in considerable inner damage.
Essentially, it is better to apply high factor sun cream (mostly SPF30 plus) every morning before you even leave the house and keep using it even as you are up there on the scaffolding throughout the day. If possible, you can also wear a brimmed hat (when you don’t need a hard hat) and cover your face from the direct rays. Also, you can check the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) hard hats on your head. If it doesn’t provide enough cover, check out for other options in the market.
Moreover, the crucial things to watch out for are signs of nausea, dizzy spells, headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps. The second time you sight these, make sure you immediately get in touch with your site supervisor.
Just as it is essential to keep the work going during the scorching sun, dehydration can be a massive issue for workers standing on scaffolding, particularly when they have to continue working inside the sun.
You don’t want to wait until you can hardly walk in a straight line to throw the water down your neck. That can lead to a severe accident as lack of stamina can make you fall from a very tall height. To prevent dehydration while working on scaffolding, you need to keep plenty of water bottles with you while you are up on the scaffolding working. If your tools belt allows you to carry the water bottles along while climbing the scaffolding, it is a plus. If not, you can hang it on your neck as you use the access ladder.
Meanwhile, if you have an opportunity to hide your water bottles under a shade, it can help you keep the water cool and revive your body after a long-standing hour in the fierce sun.
3. Challenging Air Quality
During summer in Sydney, the air quality dips. Thanks to the contest between pollutants and heat. You are also going to find yourself battling a mass of pollen, and with 1 in 5 people in Sydney experiencing some form of hay fever, chances are there’s going to be someone on your site suffering the same thing.
A lot of this will descend on the workers on site. For example, some of them might need to bring their medication and inhalers to work to help themselves when the situation becomes unbearable. However, sometimes, you might need to supply extra eye and face protection for those spending long hours on the scaffolding since they wouldn’t have the chance to come down often when they climb.
What is the best bet? Make sure that you have an additional supply of inhalers in the construction yard. The moment the polluted air starts to impact your co-workers, serve each of them immediately. When you can do that on time, you have solved the problem.
4. Hand Protection and Grip
Do you know that hot weather and oodles of sweat are a sure-fire way to one obvious outcome of clammy hands? That is a red flag in scaffolding. Sticky hands can lead to tools sliding from your grip and falling onto those standing below the scaffolding. Often, when tools fall from a worker’s hand on scaffolding, it may also cause them to lose their stability when their hand slips, culminating in serious falls. I guess you already what could the outcome of such a fatal accident.
The best method to keep sweaty hands at bay is to put lightweight, breathable, high-quality scaffolders gloves in your hands. That will keep your grip firm and safe while preventing you from overheating and uncomfortable feeling.
Aside from that, not having a firm grip can make your hand slip after several hours of sweating under the scorching sun. Losing grip on the scaffolding can lead to falling from a height which can be dangerously harmful.
We have saved the big one for last – explosions. Heat can cause pressurized cans to amplify the pressure and explode. That is more common than you might think, with items such as aerosol cans often found on site.
An explosion can also affect people working on scaffolding. For instance, some people naturally shake whenever they hear a sudden loud sound. That could also lead to a scaffolding accident.
To prevent explosion, keep any pressurized can out of direct sunlight wherever possible, and keep a close watch on any items that could be at risk of explosion.
Scaffolding hazards can sometimes be life-threatening. And in rare cases, it can lead to the loss of lives. However, the most exciting part is that you can prevent them if you take safety precautions as your top priority.