Solution Summary: Portable Mini Scaffold
A portable mini scaffold is an engineering control that provides painters with a larger elevated base to work from than a conventional stepladder. Portable mini scaffolds can also have adjustable plank platforms to vary the height.
While not a comprehensive list, below are a few examples of portable mini scaffolds available for purchase.
Granite Industries 6' Utility Scaffold
The 6' Utility Scaffold by Granite Industries, is a scaffold system that is 29 inches wide, 71 inches high and a depth of 72 inches. The frame and planks are made out of steel and have a weight capacity of 1,000 pounds (distributed). This unit may be used on stairways, over desks, and is ideal for drywall and painting applications. This unit also include outriggers (sold separately) to help provide stability.
(Photo courtesy of Granite Industries)
Heavy lifting and carrying can cause low back disorders, such as muscle strain or a disc herniation (“slipped disc”), which is bulging of disc material possibly pressing on the spinal cord or nerves that go into the leg. The portable mini scaffold can reduce heavy lifting and carrying by providing workers with a device which they can load and use to transport material around the job site.
Overhead work can cause shoulder muscle strains; tendonitis, which is inflammation of the tendons; or rotator cuff tears, which is a rupture of a shoulder tendon. The portable mini scaffold can reduce overhead work by providing a platform for painters to stand upright at the level of the working surface.
How Risks are Reduced:
The portable mini scaffold can be loaded with materials and transported around the jobsite reducing the amount of heavy lifting and carrying performed by workers. The portable mini scaffold also provides a platform for painters to stand upright at the level of the working surface, reducing the amount of time workers spend doing overhead work.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has concluded that there is strong evidence that low back disorders are associated with work-related lifting and forceful movements (Bernard et al. 1997). Using the portable mini scaffold to transport materials at the job site reduces work related lifting. A reduction in the amount of time a worker spends manually handling materials reduces the risk of low back injury. Additionally, there is strong evidence that sustained shoulder elevation is associated with shoulder tendonitis (Bernard et al. 1997). The portable mini scaffold provides workers with an elevated platform to paint and prep walls. The scaffold elevates workers to the height of the painting surface reducing the amount of overhead work and time spent elevating the arm.
Effects on Productivity:
Per WernerCo, productivity will increase because the portable mini-scaffold provides a platform for workers to move with ease when painting or prepping elevated surfaces.
As is the case with any construction tool and equipment, users should follow manufacturer safety recommendations and comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations.
Dan Anton, PT, PhD, ATC – Eastern Washington University