Have you ever wondered how the scaffolding found on a daily basis, e.g. on construction sites or set up next to renovated buildings, is created? Maybe you were wondering if they are safe for both employees and people, like you, passing by? Or maybe you are just interested in working as a scaffolding fitter? If you are interested in this subject, you've come to the right place.
What are scaffoldings and where can we use them?
Let's start by explaining what scaffolding is. Scaffolding is nothing more than metal or wooden building structures, aimed at ensuring safe and easy access to objects at different heights. They consist of many individual elements that form a stable whole. The scaffolding should be placed on a stabilized surface with a slope that allows rainwater to run off. They are set up temporarily, only for the duration of the construction works. Scaffolding is used for painting, repairing or making various changes to the facade of buildings, as well as for the construction of open-air stages and stages. They enable work both outside and inside buildings.
- Have a platform of a size that allows a person to work freely at height and a place to store tools and materials necessary for work;
- Have a stable structure adapted to carrying loads;
- Provide safe access to workstations;
- Make it possible to perform work in a position that does not stress the employee;
- Have a balustrade and communication risers;
- Secure objects and objects against falling from the scaffolding;
- Create a safe space for people passing the construction site;
Types and functions of scaffolding
Scaffolding can be divided according to their construction, method of use and material.
In terms of construction, we distinguish scaffolding:
The parts in this type of structure are connected at fixed points, spaced from each other at equal intervals, usually of fifty centimeters. They are used during construction, renovation and maintenance of facilities with a large number of installations. They are used as free-standing scaffolds.
These scaffoldings, thanks to their construction, enable the bearing of heavy loads. The entire structure is stiffened with stringers, oblique and horizontal bunks, and diagonal braces, and the individual elements are based on supports. They are used inside and outside buildings.
They are used in hard-to-reach places where it is more difficult to use other types of scaffolding. The construction of special scaffolding allows it to be adapted to a building with non-standard shapes.
They are composed of vertical pipes to which smaller elements are attached. This type of scaffolding is used for works performed at low heights, e.g. for thermal insulation or renovation of facades of residential buildings or single-family houses. Column scaffoldings, i.e. the Warsaw scaffoldings, are characterized by the ease of moving the scaffolding segments.
They are composed of two spatial supports and a platform made of thick boards. They are used inside buildings, during renovation, construction or electrical works. Their height does not exceed 2.5 meters.
They are made of appropriate platforms and bracings responsible for maintaining the scaffolding. They have oblique and horizontal elements. The platform is composed of flat frames, enabling safe movement of workers. They are quick and easy to assemble and disassemble.
There are basic elements in this construction. The platforms are connected to the building and each element is stiffened and supported. Due to its stability, cantilever scaffolding is used to work on tall buildings.
In terms of the method of use, we distinguish scaffolding:
This type of scaffolding is equipped with rigid elements with wheels, thanks to which they allow the structure to be moved to other workplaces without the need to disassemble. They are used inside buildings, mainly in halls. When using these scaffolds, a level surface is essential.
These are all scaffoldings that require disassembly when changing the workplace, which significantly extends it. They are suitable for work on tall buildings.
In terms of the material from which they are made, we distinguish scaffolding:
- Constructed of other materials
Who is the scaffold assembler and what are his duties?
A scaffold assembler is a construction worker who is responsible for the assembly and setting of scaffolding that will enable work at heights. Its task is to prepare the area so that certain activities can be performed on it. The installer is based on drawings and written instructions, without which land development would be difficult. On their basis, the assembler selects the appropriate scaffolding elements and connects all parts with each other with the use of clamps or couplings, building a stable structure. Its task is to check the scaffolding for safety. The fitter is also responsible for disassembling the scaffolding after completion of construction works. This profession requires the skills acquired in a vocational school or on dedicated vocational courses.
Qualifications allowing the work of a scaffolding fitter
First, let's pay attention to the skills that a candidate for scaffolding should have. First of all, he must not be afraid of heights - this feature immediately disqualifies him, because the fitter will not be able to perform most of the work. Before starting the training, tests should be performed to determine whether a given person is capable of working at heights above three meters. Good physical fitness is also required of the fitter.
The qualifications of scaffolding assemblers are issued by the Institute of Mechanization of Construction and Rock Mining in Warsaw. During the training, the instructors take care of preparing the student for the exam. The training and examination consist of both theoretical and practical parts. After passing the exam, the participant receives the Machine Operator's Book - the Scaffolding Fitter's Book. The rights are granted for an indefinite period and are valid throughout the country and abroad - within the EU. Working without qualifications is against the law.
The risk and benefits of the scaffolding fitter
The scaffolding assembler is exposed to great risks during the work performed, including:
- Falls from great heights
- Electric shock (in case of poorly protected electric wires)
- Injuries caused by carrying heavy metal or wooden parts
- Injuries resulting from accidents (related to the collapse of the structure)
- Access to harmful chemical factors in contact with paints or solvents
- Exposure to stress or fear of falling, contributing to the uncomfortable work
It is obvious that a trained and experienced installer tries to prevent an emergency and to comply with assembly standards and health and safety rules. While practicing this profession, you should be aware of the risks it entails and pay special attention to safety issues.
Scaffolders are urgently in demand on the labor market. The demand for employees in this industry continues to grow. Licensed scaffolders can work in Poland and abroad.