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It's a terrible thing to realize that hardly a work day goes by without a construction worker falling off a scaffold to his death. And those who survive scaffold falls are often crippled for the remainder of their lives.
These tragedies are sometimes caused by faulty design or poor construction. But in most cases the basic cause is poor maintenance or improper use — something that you can do something about.
Practical, foresighted people "keep both feet on the ground." And practical foresighted construction workers keep both feet on the scaffold. Here's how you can be sure to keep your feet there:
· Inspect scaffolds daily before you trust your life to them. Check guardrails, connectors, fastenings, footings, tie-ins, and bracing.
· Check to see that platforms are closely boarded, fenced, and securely fastened.
· Don't stockpile materials on scaffolds. Remove all tools and left-over materials at the end of the day.
· Never overload scaffolds. Pile necessary materials over ledger and bearer points.
· Ground yourself during storms or high winds. In winter, clear platforms of all ice and snow before using. Sand wet planking for sure footing.
· Help protect scaffolds; don't bang into them with equipment or materials. When hoisting material from the ground, control it with a tagline.
· Keep platforms and area near scaffold clear of debris, unneeded equipment or material, and anything else that might cause you to slip or trip.Give a scaffold the respect it deserves and it'll serve you as a convenient work-platform — not as a launching pad to send you hurtling to "The Great Beyond."
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