Personal Fall Protection Equipment Scaffolders Swear By

Scaffolders must wear hard hats, coveralls with high-visibility vests, safety harnesses, protective gloves, and appropriate footwear for safety and compliance.
May 3, 2024 by
Personal Fall Protection Equipment Scaffolders Swear By
SP Group Global Ltd

Working on scaffolding carries the risk of slip-and-fall accidents, falling objects, or structural collapse. Ongoing efforts to improve safety measures include the use of personal fall protection equipment, as recommended by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Here’s a list of the must-haves that every scaffolder should prioritise wearing.

1. Hard hats for head protection

Even minor impacts on the head can lead to bruising or more serious injuries such as concussions. Scaffolders are no exception — with objects likely falling from heights or accidental collisions with scaffold poles. Putting on hard hats or safety helmets reduces such risks.

Hard hats absorb most of the impact rather than your head and brain. The rigid outer shell disperses impact force, while the inner foam layer absorbs and dissipates it before reading the worker’s head. They must be worn at all times, not only on scaffolding but also throughout the construction site where hazardous situations exist.

But just as important as wearing one is ensuring the helmet is the right fit for the job. Certain guidelines must be complied with as per HSE. Read our guide on ‘Why Head Protection Matters When Working at Heights + Safety Helmet Features’ to learn more.

2. Heavy-duty coveralls paired with high-visibility vest

Coveralls are an excellent choice for keeping scaffolders warm and dry no matter the weather. Protective clothing like this heavy-duty coverall is less likely to snag on safety rails or the scaffolding itself. It creates a barrier between the wearer’s skin and any environmental hazards. Most coveralls are made from breathable, lightweight fabric.

Pairing coveralls with high-visibility vests can offer increased visibility during low-light conditions or in the event of rain when everyone must come down. The vest ensures the scaffolders stand out and is set apart from the background, including the scaffold and other materials around.

Note: It’s not advisable to carry on working at height when it’s raining or windy. However, it’s always wise to stay prepared should scaffolders find themselves working in unfavourable weather.

3. Safety harness for fall protection

A safety harness provides a dependable means of protection against fall-related risks. It connects to an immovable anchor point via a fall restraint or fall arrest lanyard. Wearing one ensures the wearer is secure in the event of fall, provided it’s properly worn. All scaffolders must wear this piece when working at heights of six feet or higher.

The harness must meet the correct weight requirements of each worker. While harnesses are adjustable, they must also be comfortable and properly fitted. Otherwise, they may struggle to perform their job safely.

4. Protective gloves for extra grip

Scaffolders deal with lots of mounting, dismantling, and carrying equipment from one place to another. Grip gloves offer better traction, so they can maintain a firm hold on tools, materials, and other components. Thereby preventing slips and accidents caused by losing grip.

Like other types of safety gloves, wearing a pair also provides protection against abrasion, cuts, and punctures. This ensures workers can carry out tasks safely and comfortably in demanding work environments.

5. Appropriate footwear

Safety boots with non-slip, anti-puncture, and insulating soles are recommended. Non-slip soles enhance traction, the anti-puncture feature adds an extra layer of protection against sharp objects, and insulating soles reduce the risk of electric shock. Toecaps should also be reinforced to provide extra protection for the toes against impact injuries caused by heavy objects accidentally dropped or bumped into.

If the scaffolder isn’t wearing proper footwear, the risk of losing balance and slipping remains high. The lack of traction won’t make up for the needed stability, no matter how stable and debris-free the platform is.

Having the right fall protection equipment can offer scaffolders peace of mind when working at heights. Read our guide on ‘Health & Safety in Construction + Preventive Measures’ to learn more.

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