I. _SCAFFOLDING by cuiliqing



Mr. Henry Tho LAM
Industrial Centre,
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,
Hung Hom,
Hong Kong.
Tel. (852) 2766 7609, Fax. (852) 2334 4634, E-mail: ichlam@polyu.edu.hk


                    Practical metal scaffolding training for Gammon Construction Limited

     Self-studying the code of practice for metal scaffolding is difficult, because practical training is
     still lacking. This paper is aimed at introducing our practical training module for the metal
     scaffolding, which was developed by Industrial Centre of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
     to suit the particular requests from the construction industry. This practical training module
     includes practices, design, code of practice and statutory requirements, and the practical training
     for the different tubular scaffolding erections. After the completion of the said module, the
     participants will have a general concept on how to erect the adequate and safe steel scaffold and
     also they will become the competent persons for metal scaffolding.
     The module is a two half day intensive scaffolding course in the construction site. Normally the
     said course is divided into two different sessions (Lecture and Practice) and each session is a half-
     day and about 25 participants will work in each class.
     The paper will discuss the method statement of metal scaffolding erection, which will lead to the
     students to have a more understanding both of the code of practice for scaffolding safety and the
     practical training. The paper will also include a case study for the metal scaffolding, which is to be
     used in construction industry for accident investigation. This case study will be finally presented in
     form of a computer software package making use of the “multimedia” techniques.

     construction site, metal scaffolding, training,

     1. Introduction

     Safety is a basic human need. To be zero accident is a common goal that every body would like to see.
     However it is not easy to attain it and we still have much to work towards it. In fact, construction
     safety can be further developed and continually improved by providing adequate and practical training
     to the relevant workers of the contractors. This paper is aimed at not only introducing the relevant
     regulations and the code of practice for scaffolding safety, but also describing how the metal
     scaffolding training program was developed by the Industrial Centre of The Hong Kong Polytechnic
     University to meet such requirements and industry needs.

     In view of the current trend of Hong Kong construction industry, not only the safety regulations and
     codes of practice but also the practical training programs are necessary to enhance the degree of safety

     2. The accident statistic from Hong Kong Labour Department

     The statistics made by Labour Department on the occupational injuries in all workplaces in 1998
     (analyzed by major economic activity) indicate that construction industry has the highest injury
     accident figure (31%) and fatal accident (29%) as shown in Table 1.

Major Economic Activity                                 No. of         % of Total of     No. of       % of Total of
                                                        Injuries       Injuries          Deaths       Deaths
Agriculture and Fishing                                 100            0.2%              2            0.8%
Mining and Quarrying                                    15             0.02%             1            0.4%
Manufacturing                                           7689           12.1%             30           12.5%
Electricity and Gas                                     93             0.1%              1            0.4%
Construction                                            19674          31.0%             70           29.2%
Wholesale & Retail Trades, Restaurants and Hotels       16855          26.5%             17           7.1%
Transport & Related Services, Storage and               5587           8.8%              33           13.8%
Financing, Insurance, real Estate and Business          3496           5.5%              47           19.5%
Community, Social & Personal Services                   9901           15.6%             39           16.3%
Activities not adequately defined                       116            0.2%              0            0%
TOTAL                                                   63526          100%              240          100%
Table 1 - Occupational Injuries in All Workplaces, 1998

     As far as the type of accident in construction industry is concerned, it can be seen that most of the fatal
     accidents mainly came from fall of person from height (55%) and struck by falling object (16%) as
     shown in Fig. 1. Further analysis does show that fall of person is mainly caused by metal scaffolding
     work. The main reason for this is because there were lots of the contractors who did not provide
     proper training and safe working procedures to their employees. To prevent the said accidents, a
     practical training together with a safe system of work with written procedures and guidelines for the
     metal scaffolding operation, should be devised and implemented along side with the regulations.

              Industrial Fatal Accidents in Construction Industry
                     Analyzed by Type of Accident, 1998
          ( ) = the figure in bracket denotes the number of deaths
                 T rap p ed b y                                       T rap p ed in or
                 collap sing      S truck b y       S truck b y       b etween ob jects
                 or overturning   falling ob ject   moving vehicle    4% (2)
                 ob ject          16% (9)           5% (3)
                 7% (4)                                                     S triking against
                                                                            fixed or
          S triking against                                                 stationaey ob ject
          or struck b y                                                     2% (1)
          moving ob ject
          2% (1)

              C ontact with
              electricity or
                                                                         F all of p erson
                                                                         from height
              d ischarge
              9% (5)                                                             (31)
             Fig. 1 - Fatal Accidents in Construction Industry 1998

This paper aims to take a closer look at the safety of metal scaffolding with respect to the existing
regulations, code of practice and the relevant training programs. Moreover, the curriculum of the metal
scaffolding training course developed by the Industrial Centre of The Hong Kong Polytechnic
University will also be discussed.

3. Metal Scaffolding Regulations

Part VA of Construction Site (Safety) Regulations (Chapter 59I) of the Factories and Industrial
Undertakings Ordinance in Scaffolds, Working Platforms and Ladders etc. has been amended and
enacted on 1st October 1999. The amended regulations identify the following issues:

   safety scaffolding inspection,
   boatswain's chairs (not power operated),
   interstice of metal platforms, and
   intermediate guard-rail

To have a quick glance between the old and the amended regulations, a summary of their differences
is shown in Table 2.

Old Regulation                                                  Amended Regulation
38K (1)(a)(i) Inspection of scaffolds                           38F 1(a)(iv) Inspection of scaffolds
The scaffold shall not be used on a construction site           The scaffold has been inspected by a competent
unless it has been inspected by a competent person              person at regular intervals not exceeding 14 days
within the immediately preceding month.                         immediately preceding each use of the scaffold.
38I (1)(a) Boatswain's chairs (not power operated)              38G Boatswain's chairs (not power operated)
The boatswain’s chair or similar plant or equipment shall       The contractor responsible for a construction site
not be used unless it is of good construction, sound            shall ensure that no boatswain’s chair or similar
material, adequate strength and free from patent defect.        plant or equipment is used on the site.
38L (a) Construction of working platforms, gangways,            Third schedule - Requirements with which certain
runs, etc,                                                      safety equipment must comply 2(2)(a)
Every working platform, gangway or run from which a             Working platforms, consisting of open metal work
person is liable to fall a distance of more than 2 metres       having interstices none of which exceeds 4000
shall be a platform consisting of open metal work having        square mm in area.
interstices none of which exceeds 3800 square mm in
Code of Practice for Scaffolding Safety 1995                    Third schedule - Requirements with which certain
5.3.2 (d)(vii)                                                  safety equipment must comply 6(b)
Toe-boards and end toe-boards should be of such a               The height of a guard-rail above any place of work
height that the gap between the top of the toe-board and        on a working platform, gangway, run or stairway
the guardrail does not exceed 700 mm.                           shall be in case of an intermediate guard-rail, not
                                                                less than 450 mm and not more than 600 mm. (not
                                                                for bamboo scaffold)
Table 2 - Comparison between the old and amended regulations of Construction Site (Safety) Regulations.

        4. Metal Scaffolding Training Course

        Industrial Centre of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University developed the first course for construction
        industry in 1995. Since then, a total of twelve courses of about 300 participants (Site Agent, Engineer,
        Safety Officer, Safety Supervisor, General Foreman, Foreman and worker) has been conducted. The
        Course contents have been recently revised to meet the amended regulations.

        The metal scaffolding training course consists of two different sessions: Lecture and Practice. Each
        session is a half-day duration and can be conducted in the Centre's workshop or at the construction
        site. The practical session aims to back up the lecture part. In the lecture session, the participants will
        be taught with the concept of metal scaffolding as well as the relevant regulations, code of practice,
        design principles and safety measures. In the practical session, the participants will practice the job
        skill by erecting the metal scaffold including how and where to tie in the scaffold throughout the whole
        process. Figures 2 and 3 show the course participants attending the lecture session and undertaking the

skill training in the practical session respectively. A certificate in Metal Scaffolding Training will be
issued to the trainees upon satisfactory completion of the course.

Fig. 2 - Lecture Session                                    Fig. 3 - Practical Training Session

Moreover, the method statement and the safety measures of the metal scaffolding will be introduced to
the participants as well, so that they can realize the importance of risk assessment before carrying out
any work

5. Conclusion

The accident rate concerning the scaffolding work in construction industry is very high. In this
respect, the Labour Department has recently amended Part VA of the Construction Site (Safety)
Regulations for the purpose of reducing accident occurrence and improving safety record. The authors
believe the amended regulations can achieve the said purpose.

To support the legislation, the Industrial Centre developed a metal scaffolding training course for
construction industry in 1995, and since then a total of 12 training courses for 300 participants has
been successfully completed.

The method statement and the safety measures of the metal scaffolding are emphasized in the training
course. It stresses on the importance of risk assessment, safe working procedures, job instruction and
safety monitoring. By emphasizing the safety measures to the trainees, their concept and awareness
can be enhanced, and thus safety at work can be achieved.

6. References

1) Anton, Thomas J., 1979, "Occupational Safety and Health Management", McGraw Hill Book Co.,
   New York.

2)   Hong Kong Government, 1999 "Regulation of Factories and Industrial Undertakings Ordinance
     (Cap 59I), Construction Sites (Safety) Regulations", Hong Kong Government.

3)   Petersen, Dan, 1978, "Techniques of Safety Management", Second edition, McGraw Hill Book
     Co., New York.


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