If you’re working on a project that requires scaffolding, you may be wondering if you need scaffolding safety tags – and you may be wondering why they’re required by WHS regulations and Work Safe Australia. In this article, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about scaffolding tags, how they protect your workers, and why these highly visual safety signs are so important.
What Are Scaffolding Tags? Understanding The Basics
Scaffolding-related issues are one of the most common causes of workplace injury or death, not just in Australia but around the world. Because of this, steps must be taken to ensure that workers do not climb or use any scaffolding that could be hazardous – due to improper installation or setup, or for any other reason.
At a quick glance, it can be difficult to tell if a scaffold is safe to use or not – even for a trained worker – so scaffolding tags are a quick way to allow your workers to visually identify dangerous, potentially hazardous, or unsafe scaffolding areas. They are applied after every scaffolding inspection, to make sure that the current state of a scaffold is known to all workers who could potentially be climbing it.
They could be used to mark off a section of scaffolding that’s still being built or secured, for example, to ensure that no worker accidentally tries to use an unsafe working platform or scaffold.
There are three different primary types of scaffolding tags – red, yellow, and green. Their function is as follows.
- Red – Red scaffolding tags are usually marked STOP. They mark a piece of scaffolding or a scaffolding structure as unsafe. Workers should not, under any circumstances, attempt to climb this scaffold and use it as a support structure, because there is a serious structural flaw, safety issue, or some other problem that means that it should not be used by anyone, for any reason.
- Yellow – Yellow scaffolding tags are usually marked CAUTION. These tags identify a piece of scaffolding or a scaffolding structure as not meeting every safety requirement – or requiring special equipment to use. It may also mean that a worker should seek approval from a supervisor or foreman before using the scaffolding. Yellow tags may indicate that a scaffold is safe to use, but only for those who have the proper safety equipment – such as a fall arrest system, or some other piece of equipment that is required to use the scaffolding in question safely.
- Green – Green scaffolding tags indicate that a section of scaffolding has been inspected and certified as completely safe to use – with proper bracing, platform support, guardrails, anti-slip devices, and all other precautionary measures that are required by Work Safe Australia.
Scaffolding inspection tags can be ordered from a variety of sources. But simply purchasing them is not enough to safeguard your workers and your job site – you need to use them and display them properly. Here are some tips for doing so.
- Inspect your scaffolds regularly – Without regular scaffolding inspections by a competent scaffolder, you won’t be able to deploy your tags properly. Make sure that you get regular scaffolding inspections – and have the inspector sign and date the tags, as this will help minimize liability and ensure that there are no issues with workplace safety.
- Display tags in an obvious area – Tags should be displayed near eye level, on a piece of scaffolding that a worker will always see when they approach – a ladder section, for example, where they may try to climb up the scaffolding. Placing the tags in a highly-obvious area will help protect your workers, and ensure they don’t accidentally overlook a red or yellow scaffolding tag.
- Use a clear pouch to protect the tags – Paper tags can be soaked through by rain, now, and ice, and could potentially fail, or the text could become illegible. We recommend using high-quality, strong clear plastic pouches, which will prevent water from damaging the tags.
By using the right tags and best practices, you can keep your workers safe on the job, and minimize your liability for any potential injuries.
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