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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: buying/renting scaffolding advice...

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Author  [Modern View]
Paul in MN

01-17-2013 18:53:06

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Just a caution here. Make absolutely sure whatever kind of scaffolding you get is structurally safe.

My 40 yr old son who is agile as a cat used a borrowed scaffold with platform 5 ft from garage floor. He said it looked good, no visible damage but he did see a sticker limiting the load to 500 lbs. Since he weighs 200 and was installing fiberglass insulation in his garage ceiling, he could forsee no problem. No other weights on the platform, and it had a safety rail. It had rolling casters that worked easily. As he had both hands above him with a batt of insul being stuffed between trusses, he heard a SNAP and the scaffold collapsed. The fall was towards his backside, and he was immediately trapped by the safety rail. He landed on his back with his left arm behind him, with sharp broken tubing below and above him. He was working alone. Fortunately he did not break his neck or back or get impaled by the broken tubing, but his left arm and wrist was badly broken with L hand about 1.5" out of line with the lower arm. He drove himself to the hospital in extreme pain. They tried 3 different casts, and finally decided that he'd have to be operated on by a specialist wrist surgeon when the swelling went down, 6 days later. The surgeon worked for 3 hours and told us this is one of the worst wrist jobs he has ever seen with so many shattered fine bone pieces. This happened on the Thursday before Christmas day. The 4th or 5th cast has been put in place with the titanium pins cast into the plaster. He has gone back to work (outside sales), but is very limited in his hours because of the pain.

Long story, but short lesson... Make sure that whatever scaffold you buy or rent is construction quality and is in good structural shape. I think his borrowed scaffold came from the orient, painted yellow, and may have been purchased from Wal Mart or Menards. There are enough broken pieces that it is nearly impossible to determine what caused the failure.

I have 6 or 7 full cribs of construction scaffold in the 5 ft height, with 8 caster wheels. But he thought my stuff was too big and heavy, so he borrowed the lite weight stuff from a friend.

Safety First!!

Paul in MN

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