It has long been known that construction sites by their nature are dangerous. According to data published by the U.S National Library of Medicine, the likelihood of suffering injury or illness while working on a construction site in 2002 was 71% higher when compared to other industry-based professions, with the same report estimating that the total annual cost of fatal and non-fatal injuries to the construction industry was $11.5 billion. For those of you who work in construction it will come as no surprise that the leading cause of fatalities, according to the United Nation’s ILO (2019) was from falling, accounting for 33%. Even more specifically, a report by the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation found that scaffolders were the most at-risk group to be involved in an accident ahead of labourers and trainees, yet it has only been relatively recently that the industry has stepped up its efforts to not only enhance and enforce higher standards of safety, but also integrate technology and innovation as a way of improving equipment and systems.
As a family-run business, Doka has consistently reinvested into developing the safety standards of its products so when the opportunity arose to forge a strategic partnership with AT-PAC, it became clear that the combination of a broad global network and a business with extensive knowledge and experience in producing high-quality scaffolding would be the right fit to not only raise industry standards to a wider audience, but also to educate and support through planning, engineering and training while helping to find tailor-made solutions for even the most complex projects.
Speaking on behalf of Doka Middle East & Africa, Diogo Ezequiel, scaffolding manager commented, “Many of our clients opted for Ringlock because of its usability and vastly increased performance when compared to cuplock or traditional tube and fitting, but relatively few understood the extensive safety benefits until receiving feedback from their site teams. As a system that was developed with safety in mind, Ringlock comes equipped with a broad range of safety features, which when combined the system’s hot dipped galvanisation yields a sturdy solution that is just as suitable on a construction sites as it is on industrial projects.”
According to a report published by the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), more than 70% of scaffold accident injuries are caused by one of three things. Either scaffolding support or planking giving way, either due to defective or damaged equipment or improper assembly, slipping or tripping while on a scaffold due to factors such as slippery surfaces or insufficient planking, leading to falls where guardrails, a safety harness or proper training were lacking or falling objects hitting those below.
As a direct solution to each of these hazards, Ringlock’s perforated steel decks were not only designed to be highly durable but also allow water to pass through them, leaving users with ample grip even in adverse weather. The decks also come equipped with anti-lifting devices meaning a stable platform regardless of who or what else is on the same board at any given time, while the use of wedge lock mechanisms reduce the risk of human error and time spent accurately installing fittings at height. For additional protection, Ringlock also features handrails that match the inclination of the stairs, ledgers that serve as guardrails and metal toeboards that protect site teams from falling objects, while also meeting the required safety standards as per EN12810. In order to protect against either a slip, trip or loss of balance, anchor points are also integrated into the design for personal fall-arrest systems. When relocating the scaffolding whole, toggle pins and base jack retentions also ensure the system remains fully intact throughout the process, protecting site teams from potential falling objects or components.
Thanks to Ringlock’s 30% reduction in weight, when compared to traditional scaffolding, workers are less likely to suffer back pain, fatigue or loss of coordination at height while simultaneously helping to reduce man-hours, which consequently reduces unnecessary risk and exposure of the scaffolders. From a design point of view, the pre-set 90-degree holes eliminate the risk of human error in levelling and “squaring” ledgers, which can often be a challenging task at height.
Commenting on Ringlock’s high-level safety benefits, Mohamed Omran, regional business development manager, Doka Middle East & Africa said, “Scaffolding is one of the most labour-intensive and dangerous jobs in construction. The ringlock design simplicity makes it the easiest and safest scaffolding type to Install, while eliminating common scaffolding risks during installation by minimizing the likelihood of human error.”
While construction is unlikely to become the world’s safest profession anytime soon, we can all benefit from paying closer attention to our rapidly developing industry while keeping a finger on the pulse for potentially life-saving solutions, which more often than not come with the added bonus of being more durable and cost-effective.