Scaffolding : the precautions to take to avoid accidents

SECURITY. Collapses of scaffolds are rare in France. Yet, it is this that has just occurred in the heart of Paris on 10 may. Reminder of the rules to be followed for the installation and use of these structures with Gabriel Staniul, technical manager of the French Union of Scaffolding Formwork and Propping (SFECE).
The incident is impressive and could have been very serious. On may 10, 2017, around 10.30 am, a scaffold is installed on a building in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin is secured to the façade without any apparent reason. Fortunately, according to a witness of the scene, contacted by Batiactu, no worker was injured. According to the daily Le Parisien, only a passer-by would have been slightly injured after being struck by a stone that fell from the facade.


Even if such accidents are rare in France (about 1 to 2 per year), Gabriel Staniul, technical manager of the French Union of Scaffolding Formwork and Propping (SFECE), we explained the rules for the installation and use of these structures.

Batiactu : What is the first thing to do before mounting a scaffold ?

Gabriel Staniul : The first step is to carry out a planting project on the ground. When the structure is open and it requires to take into account the passage of the public, it is necessary to make a permit application to the road with just this project.

Batiactu : And then ?

Gabriel Staniul : Then, there is the mounting. It must be done according to the instructions, and the execution plan of the manufacturer. Beyond 24 metres of height (approximately 8 storeys), a calculation note has to be made by an engineering study, typically performed by the manufacturer but this is not mandatory. When the scaffold is attached to a wall, the installers will proceed with the establishment of anchors and/or anchors. The anchor is to dig a part of the wall with a dowel to set a piton. For docking, a little less used, it is to create a kind of framework around a door or a window. When mounting, it is essential to check these anchorages and moorings as and to the extent of the installation to adapt better to the surface of the building.

Batiactu : Y a-t-it controls once the editing is done ?

Gabriel Staniul : at the end of the assembly, of course, but not only. First of all, the scaffold must be checked before its put into service by the user, that is to say, by a company working on the construction site. Then, the user should perform daily check. Every morning, the company shall ensure that nothing has moved, that person is not fitted in the night and has removed or damaged the structure.

Batiactu : users should be trained ?

Gabriel Staniul : Yes, they have an obligation to follow a training given by an approved body.
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Batiactu : more work on the facades of buildings relate to ITE, for which a thickness is added to the original wall. In this case, how the scaffolds are installed ? Are there any special rules to follow ?

Gabriel Staniul : The rule is clear. The limit of blank did not exceed 20 cm. Beyond this space, there is the requirement to install guardrails on the interior. Which is the case for the insulation work from the outside, companies need a drop of 40 to 50 cm. To meet the standards, it is necessary to begin by installing a guard-complete body, from the inside and the outside. Once the insulation is laid, the guard inside is removed. And this is where the risk is greatest. Today, there is no obligation for the user to follow a formation for removing a part of the structure. However, the disassembly is as important as the installation. If the structure is not removed in the correct order, or that an element is removed while it should not be, the structure can be weakened.


To summarize, what are the precautions to observe ?
Gabriel Staniul :
-How to install the scaffolding by a serious company with a recognised qualification, the type Qualibat or the CCP (certificate of professional competence).
– Train its staff to the tool and its modification.
– Make the checks required before start-up but also and especially on a daily basis. I also drew attention to cases where companies proceed with the piochage of the facade. For this type of work, it is essential to check the strength of the moorings.
With these three recommendations, we can avoid the problems.

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