Electrical Safety in Scaffolding 

Towering above the ground, scaffolding provides access to elevated areas for construction and maintenance tasks. Electrical hazards, however, are often overlooked when setting up and working on scaffolds.

How to Mitigate the Risk of Electrocution and other Injuries

GFCI Protection and Equipment Checks 

When using electrical tools on scaffolding, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are vital. These automatically shut off the power if they detect a ground fault, reducing the risk of shock. Inspect all electrical cords and tools for damage before each use. Replace faulty equipment promptly and never use tools with exposed wiring.  

Maintain a Safe Distance from Power Lines 

Maintain a safe distance between any part of the scaffold and overhead power lines. Consult the power company or a local, qualified electrician to determine the safe working distance, depending on the voltage. If the proximity is unavoidable, consider other options such as using grounded metal shielding, de-energizing the lines, or using insulating materials.  

PPE and Protective Clothing 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help safeguard you from electrical hazards. Use insulated, suitably rated gloves, and wear safety glasses to protect from flying debris or accidental arcing. Wear rubber-soled boots with suitable traction to prevent slips and falls. Ensure your clothing is weatherproof when working outdoors – wet conditions increase the risk of electrical conductivity  

Collaboration and Emergency Preparedness 

Good communication is essential. Inform all workers about potential electrical hazards, ensuring everyone on site understands the safe working distances and procedures. Conduct regular toolbox talks. Ensure there is a clear emergency plan in place, including designated first-aid responders. Accessible shut-off switches for electrical equipment should be in place in case of an incident. 

Additional Top Tips 

  • Be aware of overhead power lines in your work area.  
  • Conduct initial and daily surveys of the worksite. Implement control measures and training to address hazards at the site. 
  • Never assume a line is inactive without proper verification.  
  • Remember, just because a wire has a plastic covering does not mean that it is insulated. 
  • Ensure someone on the team is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 

Working with electricity on scaffolding demands respect and caution.

By adhering to the above guidelines and maintaining safety awareness, scaffolders can contribute towards a productive and safe work environment for everyone involved. 

Share on social media

Latest Updates & Information

The future of Health and Safety software – today! Leaders in EHS Software, GRC Software, safety, risk, governance and compliance software

Arrange your demonstration

Let us show you how we can transform your compliance management

Choose a date and time for your demo (no obligation) and we will be in touch.