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Category: Scaffolding

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UK innovation revolutionizes composite scaffolding and toe board clips

A UK based company is celebrating the arrival of new lightweight composite scaffold tubes set to change the way the industry utilises its materials. Scaffmag has been taking a closer look at the potential success of both lightweight tubing and brilliantly designed toe-boards clips.

Life is good when materials are easier to transport, handle and far less likely to lead to personal injury issues. It’s a goal the whole of the scaffolding industry is striving toward as we move deeper into the 21st century.

Thanks to the bods at Kapiti Engineering Ltd and Forefront Scaffolding Hire and Sales, a new form of tube is set to be snapped up by site professionals across Britain and beyond.

While the external diameter of com-tube is the same as conventional steel or aluminium scaffold tubes it has several other attractive features. Firstly, the resilience of the composite materials comprising the com-tube makes them resistant to corrosion even in hostile chemical environments.

What’s more, they are ideal for applications in both onshore and offshore marine locations. In fact, com-tube is ideal for operations in the vicinity of high voltage electrical works such as power stations, transmission lines and railways.

Due to their non-sparking properties com-tube provides an ideal solution when operating around potentially combustive environments such as chemical plants, and oil and gas facilities.

It’s important to note this innovative tubing is made from an advanced composite of resilient thermoset resin binding both longitudinal and spirally wound reinforcing fibres. This means it’s stronger in bending than traditional steel scaffolding tubes.

Toe Board Clip

If you thought one superb creation would suffice however, how about a versatile toe board clip designed to allow toe-boards to be secured against adjacent standards without the need for tightening bolts? Once again industry experience has been put to good use. As a result, the new com-clip has emerged made from a material that will never corrode.

Now, toe boards can be attached to the adjacent standards with a reasonable manual force. Once attached to the tube they should remain in position requiring a small force to manually slide them into place over the board. when positioned over an edge toe-board the locking arms should protrude far enough to allow a second end toe-board to be secured between the arms. Correctly positioned they certainly won’t be a safety hazard in any way, and in carrying a low weight the construction task is made even easier.

There is currently no specified regulatory requirement for the strength of toe-board clamps. “For toe boards, the horizontal point load is 0.150kN.” This relates to the strength of the toe board itself to an outwardly directed force from operations on the platform. These outwardly directed forces on the boards would be resisted by the toe board bearing against the standards against which they are attached meaning com-clip® toe board Clips are more than adequate. NASC TG 20 has a similar requirement to BS EN 12811-1.

Looking even closer it’s also necessary for the clip to be able to resist an inwardly directed wind force of between 0.06 and 0.08kN (6 and 8kgf). Tests have demonstrated the com-clip toe board Clips have a pull-off capacity of 0.075kN (7.5kgf).

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Stay safe on-site this winter

Winter is on the horizon and if recent years have taught us anything, we must prepare for the unexpected in terms of weather.

Undoubtedly, there are more hazards on-site during the winter season. We’re being subjected to more storms and larger quantities of rain, and there is an ever-present risk of freezing temperatures, snow and ice. Taking the right precautions is essential to successfully enable workers to carry out their work safely.

Much progress has been made in our journey towards improved site safety. But it’s also clear that, as an industry, there’s more to be done. According to the Health & Safety Executive, there were 81,000 workers who suffered from work-related injuries in 2020, and sadly, 40 fatal injuries. This represented a slight increase on the yearly average.

Worker safety and comfort has never been more important and every tradesperson needs to get home safely at the end of the working day.

That’s why we’ve put together the following handy suggestions to help prepare you and your worksite for the colder weather.

Wind and rain protection

If you’re working on a scaffold in winter, it’s likely you’ll be exposed to some quite unsavoury conditions from time to time. Heavy-duty scaffold sheeting does a fantastic job of keeping out the wind and rain, helping you focus on the task at hand.

Our recommendation: BIGBEN® Superclad® Eco Flame Retardant Premium Scaffold Sheeting 

Premium by name, premium by nature… this is top quality scaffold sheeting. It does a superb job of protecting workers in poor weather. It’s flame retardant too and approved to EN13501-1, meaning you can rest assured this scaffold sheeting will reduce the threat of fires spreading.

Furthermore, it’s recyclable. This is crucial as businesses like yours begin the shift to a more sustainable way of operating. Eco-friendly scaffold sheeting is the perfect way to protect people, projects and planet.

Stop the drop! Tether your tools

Cold, wet, and numb hands could increase the likelihood of dropping your tools, and the results can be catastrophic. Of course, accidents happen, but the right preparation can ensure even if you do drop a tool, no one else will pay the price. Tool tethering ensures you’re attached to the tools you’re using, protecting those around you from that free-falling spanner.

Our recommendation: BIGBEN® Scaffolders Deluxe Tool Safety Belt comes with Tethered Scaffold Tool set

This safety belt is a deluxe piece of kit. Complete with a premium set of tools including the BIGBEN Induction Magnetic Level and IMN Safety Ring Box 7/16” Spanner with Poker Handle, each tool is accompanied with high-quality corresponding frogs and tethers. We call this safer scaffolding.

Ultimate hand safety

Speaking of cold hands… proper hand protection is vital.

We can all relate to the feeling of freezing hands. A good pair of gloves protects them during everyday tasks and keeps them warm. But you need to do be able to do the job well too. You need to keep your hands warm, and have ample dexterity. If you must take off your gloves to carry out the work, then you’ve probably got the wrong pair.

Our recommendation: Koolgrip II Thermal Work Gloves

They are long lasting gloves that ensure warmth, durability and safety all day. They are also EN388:2016 Certified, meaning they are proven to protect against mechanical risks such as abrasions, cuts and impacts. This is a really strong pair of gloves that perform superbly in both wet and dry conditions, with excellent insulating capacities to keep hands warm in cold environments.

Keep your scaffold boards in place

When stormy weather blows in, the last thing you need is unsecured scaffold boards that become displaced. This is extremely hazardous and could result in a board dislodging and striking fellow workers, or misplaced footing causing falls and trips. A good set of board clamps will ensure your scaffold boards remain in place during the bad weather.

Our recommendation: Board Retaining Clamps

Scaffold boards can be quickly and securely locked in the correct position with these Board Retaining Clamps. With considerable resistance to both lateral and upward movement, we highly recommended their use in wintery conditions.

Be seen, keep warm, stay dry

The wrong attire can result in productivity plummeting. When visibility is low and the cold sweeps in, not only is it important you’re highly visible to reduce the risk of being struck by moving vehicles, but you need to stay warm and dry too.

A good hi-vis jacket is perfect to help you achieve this. The more comfortable the worker, the easier it is to do the job.

Our recommendation: BIGBEN® Hi-Vis Waterproof Winter Jacket

The BIGBEN Hi-Vis Waterproof Jacket is stylish, functional and ensures you’ll stand out from the crowd. This jacket is of premium quality and includes many outstanding features, such as the new Insulatex heat reflective lining panel which reflects heat back into the body ensuring maximum warmth and comfort. It’s a must have for your winter workwear wardrobe.

Don’t forget your feet!

Winter footwear must offer great protection, but also be durable and comfortable. A decent pair of safety boots will improve productivity as you’ll feel better on your feet for longer. During the winter, you’ll want to stop the cold setting in too so you’ll need something fully waterproof and insulated.

Our recommendation: Caiman Waterproof Safety Boots

The Caiman is a stand-out choice here. This boot is waterproof and breathable. Its lightweight composite midsole and toecap make the Caiman incredibly light and comfortable, helping reduce wearer fatigue. It’s also fully waterproof with a bellows tongue and waterproof lining to ensure breathability.

Let’s make scaffolding safer this winter

Working on scaffold sites is incredibly dangerous in the winter months. It’s important workers are prepared for the weather, and that businesses put safety at the core of their operations by implementing strict safety precautions.

Scaffolding Association announces new partnership with CHAS

The Scaffolding Association has partnered up with CHAS a provider of accreditation services that help businesses to achieve compliance, mitigate supply chain risks and support efficient supply chain management all under one roof.

CHAS’s new Common Assessment Standard can review all aspects of a business’s risk management policies in a single annual audit.

As one of the founders of Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP), CHAS is committed to setting health and safety benchmarks that drive industries forward and make the world of work a safer place.

The partnership will enable Scaffolding Association members to receive a 20% discount on new CHAS accreditation applications and 10% discount on renewals of CHAS accreditations for members that are existing CHAS customers.

Michelle Lee, Partnerships, Channel and Franchise Manager for CHAS, commented on the partnership: “As an authority and trusted advisor on health and safety compliance, CHAS is committed to the continuous improvement of health & safety standards in the UK. We’re delighted to be working with The Scaffolding Association, which demonstrates their commitment to managing health and safety effectively.”

Stacey Underhill, Head of External Affairs at the Scaffolding Association, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to bring this partnership to our members and the associated benefits the partnership will bring.

CHAS will enable our members to achieve SSIP compliance using one body, once per year. Joining CHAS will also provide our members with opportunities to access work by connecting them with leading organisations and clients.”

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Scaffolder suffers 48,000-volt electric shock

A scaffolder has received serious injuries after a scaffold tube he was lifting hit an overhead power line – sending 48,000 volts through his body.

Steven Gillmore the 36-year-old scaffolder also fell from height following the electric shock. He has remained in hospital in a serious but stable condition since the incident happened in Crawley on November 29.

“The injuries he sustained will result in life-changing conditions”, his partner Vicky Blackman said.

She has been travelling to the burns unit at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to visit him where he remains receiving treatment.

Doctors are unsure of the severity of his internal burns and how much of his hands and arms are going to survive. But surgeons have said it will be a long and rough road to recovery for Steven.

One of his friends, Kieran Friend, 45, launched a fundraising campaign to help Mr Gilmore’s family as he remains in hospital.

So far over £14,000 has been raised in donations for the scaffolder and his family.

“I’m over the moon with the amount of money raised so far,” Mr Friend said to Kent Online.

“I never knew it would have gotten this high so thank you to all who have put in.

“But the more I think about things and his recovery – which is going to take months not weeks – the family will definitely need a lot more money than we have already raised.”

To donate to the fundraiser click here.

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CSCS set to roll out new Smart Check app

A new app, developed by the 38 card schemes displaying the CSCS logo, is set to radically improve the construction industry’s card checking procedures and site safety.

The CSCS Smart Check app represents a major step forward as, for the first time, all 2.1 million cards displaying the CSCS logo can be electronically verified using a single app.

The rollout of the app begins in April 2022, providing employers with a quick, easy and secure way of ensuring everyone on site has the right qualifications and training for the job they do.

The app will be free to use and available for Apple iOS and Android devices.

CSCS says that sites should require everyone working in construction to hold a card displaying the CSCS logo and they should be checking those cards regularly to ensure they are genuine and in date.

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Study finds 60% of Scaffolders love their job

New research shows that almost two-thirds of UK scaffolders enjoy their job and nearly a half of scaffolders say they are proud of the work they do.

The research which forms part of a wider study by IronmongeryDirect shows that tradespeople are significantly more likely to love their jobs than the average working Brit.

UK tradespeople were asked about their level of job satisfaction and found that 56% are happy with their careers, compared to just 37% across all industries.

Additionally, nearly half (47%) of tradespeople are proud of the work they do and around a third say they are happy with both their work-life balance (32%) and level of income (31%).

Tradies were also asked exactly which parts of their work they find the most enjoyable. The most popular answer was interaction with customers (22%), while the ability to continually learn on the job also ranked highly (21%).

The top five things tradespeople enjoy about their work are:

  1. Interacting with customers – 22%
  2. Learning something new – 21%
  3. Working outdoors – 20%
  4. Job variety – 20%
  5. Seeing visible accomplishments each day – 19%

When it comes to individual trades, bricklayers are the most likely tradespeople to say they enjoy their job (69%), but interestingly are also the least likely to feel proud of their work (19%).

Electricians (63%), Plumbers (61%) and Scaffolders (60%) also have really high job satisfaction, while at the other end of the table, building surveyors are the least likely tradespeople to enjoy their work (43%).

Painter decorators and electricians are the most likely tradies to feel a sense of pride about their work (58%).

The study also found that Millennial tradespeople are the least likely to enjoy their job, with only 43% stating that they like their work, whilst those over the age of 65 have the greatest career satisfaction (69%).

More men said they enjoy their job (60%) than women (50%), but women are more likely to be proud of their work (51% vs 45%).

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at IronmongeryDirect and ElectricalDirect, said: “It’s great to see that so many tradespeople enjoy the work they do, and feel a real sense of accomplishment for their projects.”

“We’ve always believed that for many tradies, their work isn’t just a job, but truly a passion and a way of life, and that was echoed by the majority of tradespeople in our study.”

-Dominick Sandford