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Scaffolding: How Times Have Changed

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Working at heights is nothing new, but we seem to be much more reliant on it these days. Gone are the days of single-storey buildings and makeshift scaffolding; today we understand the necessity of building up instead of out, but we also appreciate the need for health and safety, above all else, especially when working at height.

That is why there are specialist training and certification bodies available, such as PASMA and IPAF. View available courses in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear and more locations.

They run courses covering all different aspects of working at height and working safely in the industry, particularly when it comes to health and safety with regards to platforms and towers. Courses can be short or ongoing, and you become part of the professional body upon completion.

Naturally, IPAF and PASMA training is great for modern construction work, but some of history’s most impressive structures were completed, extended and maintained by workers using what can only be described as primitive – and rather precarious – methods in comparison.

Scaffolding in the ancient world, specifically ancient China and Egypt, was constructed from wood and rope knots. Not exactly the safest contraption, especially when you consider it would have been used to build long-lasting, laws-of-physics-defying structures like the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China. It may always be a mystery, how man effectively moved mountains made of bricks, using nothing but simple pulley systems and seriously shaky scaffolding.

Fast forward a few centuries, and you have the building boom of the 19th and 20th centuries, which saw the birth and massive growth of the world’s most impressive cities, like Paris and New York.

We’ve all seen the iconic image (here) of New York’s finest construction site workers perched on a beam, hanging over a half-completed skyscraper high above Manhattan. There really is something quite breath-taking about the idea of casually enjoying your paper bag sandwich, unharnessed, whilst taking in the sights many, many storeys up.

Would you want to be the one trotting along those beams as they balance awkwardly and hang from cables? No, modern scaffolding is a far better option.

Of course, by the early 20th century, scaffolding had moved on a bit from the wood and rope contraptions used by the ancients. Even so, considering the heights at which the creators of New York’s skyscrapers used to work, being properly trained to use the safe and sturdy equipment of today is a far better option.

As time has moved on, and our construction methods have become more sophisticated, health and safety has become paramount. That is why so much emphasis is placed on best practices and the appropriate training or certification.

You may be counting your lucky stars that you don’t have to balance yourself precariously on a rope and timber contraption, and you may be equally relieved that you’re not asked to teeter along steel supports and beams, suspended high above city streets and construction sites.

That said though, all of these advancements are of no real use if you don’t keep up with the times in terms of knowledge and understanding.

You need to ensure you can work all of the fancy new equipment, and you have to be aware of best practices and the safest, most efficient ways to work. As such, you need to take advantage of opportunities like IPAF and PASMA training courses, among many more. So check out what courses we offer here at NEAT.

Alternatively, get in touch and we can talk more in depth about your needs and your options.