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Best Practices for a Mobile Scaffold Inspection Checklist

Working with mobile scaffolds can be extremely dangerous when not properly governed by safety guidelines. With a mobile scaffold inspection checklist, you can mitigate risks, increase worker safety, and meet OSHA’s compliance requirements.

What Is a Mobile Scaffold Inspection Checklist?

Working in extreme heights in construction sites is a common occurrence and typically involves the use of scaffolding for efficiency and safety. However, when proper safety equipment and practices are not observed, the lives of workers are put at terrible risk. In fact, it’s noted that approximately 4,500 workers suffer from scaffolding-related injuries annually. When left unchecked, damaged or compromised parts can result in permanent injury and even death.

One type of supported scaffolds is those set on wheels called mobile scaffolds. Their purpose is to provide easy movement and a more efficient work environment for workers who frequently change their position while doing their tasks. This means mobile scaffolds are moved around or taken down as often as needed.

Conducting a mobile scaffold inspection is imperative in this scenario because every time the mobile scaffolding tower is deconstructed or moved, the chances of its structural integrity being compromised increase. That’s why OSHA provides a separate safety standard for mobile scaffolds, specifically for fall protection, because of its mobility.

With a comprehensive standard to follow, covering all your bases and meeting all of OSHA’s safety requirements can be challenging. This is where a mobile scaffold inspection checklist comes in handy as it can serve as your guide when conducting inspections. A checklist not only helps you know exactly what to do next but also helps ensure that nothing is left unchecked. From mobile scaffold hazards and control measures to developing worker training, a checklist can help you implement a safer work culture.

This article covers the following topics:

1. What mobile scaffold hazards and control measures are

2. Best practices of handling mobile scaffolding

3. An app for mobile scaffold inspections

Mobile scaffolds during road construction

What Are Common Mobile Scaffold Hazards and What Can Be Done to Prevent Them?

The hazards related to scaffolding safety are not to be underestimated. In construction sites, scaffolding incidents are one of the most common threats to worker safety. That’s why it’s no wonder that improper scaffolding is the #4 overall most cited violation of OSHA.

Having a good working knowledge of mobile scaffold hazards and control measures is essential. Here are the main hazards to mobile tower scaffolds that you should watch out for:

  • Risk of a worker falling from an elevated platform
  • Objects falling from the platform and striking a worker
  • Failure of structural integrity and collapse of the scaffold
  • Unintentional movement of the wheels
  • Electrocution from contact with live overheads

To counter this, OSHA released comprehensive safety precautions for mobile scaffolding to mitigate risks and promote worker safety.

  1. Scaffolds should be properly braced by one or a combination of cross, horizontal, or diagonal braces. This will strengthen the structural integrity of the scaffold and prevent potential collapse. Furthermore, this will help secure the vertical members laterally so they are aligned and automatically squared. Employers must ensure that all brace connections are properly secured at all times.
  2. Casters and wheel must be locked with positive wheel or swivel locks, or the equivalent, to ensure that the scaffold does not move and remains stationary while being used by a worker.
  3. The manual force that is used when moving the structure should be applied close to the base but not more than 5 feet or 1.5 meters above the supporting surface.
  4. Unless the scaffold is designed for use with propulsion systems, forklifts, trucks, or similar motor equipment should not be used to move the scaffold. Employers must ensure that the appropriate power systems designed to specifically propel mobile scaffolds will be the ones used.
  5. To avoid the potential tipping of the structure during movement, the scaffold should be stabilized.
  6. Workers should not be permitted to ride on scaffolds unless specific safety conditions are met:
    • What does the surface beneath the scaffold look like? The requirement is it should be within three degrees of level and has no pits, holes, or obstructions.
    • What is the maximum height of a mobile scaffold? The height to base width ratio should not be more than 2:1 while moving unless it is specifically designed and built to exceed nationally recognized stability test requirements.
    • Are there outrigger frames installed on both sides of the scaffold? The structure should have the appropriate outrigger frames when used.
    • The propelling force should be applied directly to the wheels when being used and should have a speed of 1 foot per second (.3 MPS) or less.
    • There should be no employee on any part of the scaffold that extends outward beyond the wheels, casters, and other forms of support.
  7. Unless outrigger frames or equivalent devices are set in place to guarantee stability, platforms should not extend outward beyond the base support of the scaffold.
  8. Screw jacks or equivalent means should be used to level the scaffold where needed.
  9. Caster and wheel stems should be attached to scaffold legs or adjustment screws.
  10. Notify all your employees before moving a scaffold. It can be dangerous to move a scaffold with workers on it, especially when they are unaware of the move.

A mobile in front of a house

What Are the Tips and Best Practices for Handling Mobile Scaffolds?

Apart from being knowledgeable of the OSHA compliance requirements, it’s also beneficial to keep in mind several scaffolding best practices when creating your mobile scaffold inspection checklist. When in use, you should:

  • Make sure that the platform is free of any trip hazards.
  • Train workers on proper safety practices like avoiding jumping from one plank or platform to another and using corrosive materials.
  • Avoid the accumulation of debris or loose objects on the platform.
  • Keep the scaffold free of slippery materials like grease, mud, or paint.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on weight requirements and avoid overloading.
  • Discourage workers to use chairs or any material to increase their height.
  • Restrict standing on guardrails at all times.
  • Make sure that the scaffold is attended to at all times. Consider this: how often should scaffolds be inspected? When regularly used, an inspection should be done weekly. However, when left unattended even for a short amount of time, it should be inspected before being used.
  • Encourage and remind employees to stay within the boundaries of the scaffold’s guardrails.

When it comes to equipment maintenance, here are some things you should consider:

  • Don’t mix components like manufacturer platforms, castors, or end frame access ladders.
  • Always check for potential damages like missing or loose edge banding, holes or weak spots in the plywood.
  • Remove the platform immediately if it is exposed to excessive heat or damaged by fire.
  • Always inspect the locks and replace them if needed.

Why It Is Helpful to Use an App for Mobile Scaffold Inspections

With Lumiform’s powerful app for inspections and audits, digital checklists can be used to conduct comprehensive inspections of mobile scaffolds. This optimizes safety on every job site. Data and image material can be easily captured via smartphone or tablet and evaluated via desktop software. This helps prevent injuries when working on mobile scaffold towers.

The mobile, powerful app offers with several features safe work with mobile scaffolds:

  • With the flexible form builder, individual paper lists are converted into digital checklists within minutes.
  • Lumiform offers pre-made templates to get you started digitally quickly and securely.
  • Using the super intuitive mobile app, teammates can easily collaborate, save time on each inspection and solve issues together.
  • All inspection results are automatically bundled into one report and can be sent to stakeholders.
  • Comprehensive analyses help uncover risks and hazards in mobile scaffolding systems more quickly and thus continuously improve safety standards.

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A scaffolder with scaffolding parts
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