Are You Required To Wear A Hard Hat On Scaffolds?
Hard hat usage on scaffolds is not only good common sense, but it also required by OSHA regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set guidelines on worker safety on job sites in order to enhance the safety of employees. Working on scaffolding is one of the most dangerous aspects of a construction zone. Maximum situational awareness and serious precautions need to be taken when working on scaffolding in order to prevent injury. Most employers require extensive OSHA training for their employees and take all necessary precautions to ensure worker safety. Unfortunately, there are still a few employers who attempt to skirt these rules and ignore OSHA regulations and safety regulations. This is often to the demise of their employees, who can become seriously injured.
Construction and similar types of work are dangerous enough as it is, with heavy equipment, traffic and power tools around. In addition, if you are required to climb up to reach a level higher than ground level, your risk of injury multiplies. Scaffolding can be extremely dangerous, as it often adds substantial elevation and can be unstable. There are many ways to be injured while on scaffolding. Head injuries on scaffolding quite common, especially when you are wearing a hat that makes your head have a higher profile than normal. Examples of head injuries include but are not limited to: low overhead clearances, falling tools, falling construction materials, and believe it or not, other workers. Other possibilities include falling off the scaffolding and debris falling from demolition.
Safe assembly and disassembly of scaffolding will also help in the prevention of head injuries. It is important to never use improvised materials when putting together scaffolding. Examples of improvised materials include 2X4's and plywood decking, nails in place of cotter pins, stacks of 2X4's under legs to even the scaffolding out and so on. These quick fixes might be convenient and fast, but they increase your risk of danger tenfold. Scaffolding should first be assembled on generally flat terrain and only if you have all the necessary equipment to properly assembly the scaffolding. If you lack the required equipment, speak to your safety supervisor for further directions.
Hard hat usage on scaffolds will help you avoid serious head injuries or even death. The proper wear of your hard hat will help ensure a safer work environment. There are also repercussions that can come from not wearing a hard hat on scaffolding. OSHA can impose some pretty hefty fines on employers for EACH employee found to not be wearing a hard hat on the job site. OSHA can and will enforce steeper fines when employees violate rules which, by nature, are more hazardous and that carry a greater potential for death or serious injury.
In the long run, it is safer to wear your hard hat and will prevent OSHA from fining your employer. I would imagine that if your employer was fined for you not wearing your hard hat, your tenure with your company would be short lived. The bottom line is, hard hat usage on scaffolds is not only smart but its the law.