Updated on June 4, 2021
While working at height always bears some risks, working at height in the rain increases these risks. Therefore, your workers should be very careful and mindful when going up and down the scaffold as well as executing their tasks. For example, they should always have three points of contact and move without any hurry.
However, there are more issues associated with using scaffolding in the rain. So, here, we provide tips that help you ensure the safety of your workers when it is raining.
Unless your scaffolds stay on concrete, asphalt, or the like, there is a risk the whole structure may sink into the wet and melted ground. In this case, it becomes highly unstable, and, thus, dangerous to use. This is true not only for the cases of using the scaffolding structures in the rain but after it as well.
That is why you always need to inspect your structures before using them under and after adverse weather conditions. For your peace of mind, you can always use our scaffold inspections service. We will check your scaffold stability and reliability so you can ensure your workers’ safety.
Rain can make the boards too wet and, thus, too slippery. It is hard to set how quickly it may happen. If it is just drizzling, the plank may hold sufficient grip for five or even six hours. However, a downpour can loosen its grip within two or three hours. So, if a scaffold board is too slippery, it is a good idea to turn it upside down. Typically, its downside ensures sufficient grip and, thus, is safe enough to work on.
Still, it is unlikely you can turn the plank twice while raining. So, if the other side also gets too slippery, you have to stop your works completely and wait till one of the sides dries out.
Personal protective equipment is a must for all dangerous works. And, especially, for works at height. However, when there is a need to work in the rain, you should pay extra attention to how well your workers are equipped. For example, make sure the following PPE is on:
To clarify, wet surfaces pose an increased risk of slipping. Therefore, wearing non-skid boots helps your workers to eliminate this risk. Hard hats protect their heads from impacts in case they lose their balance or get some item fallen on their heads. Full-body harnesses protect them from falling down the scaffolds if slipping (the risk of which, as you know, increases in the rain). At last, waterproof jackets protect them from getting wet and sick. Of course, this has nothing to do with the risk of falling. But the overall health state of your workers should be your concern as well.
To conclude, it is a general rule to stop any works if the weather conditions become too extreme, or your workers are not sufficiently experienced to work in the rain. Thus, if possible, try to rearrange your pipeline and bring your workers down.
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