Scaffolding – Giving Employees a Working Platform

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at safety compliance. The world of safety compliance should not be confusing. These are in place to maintain a safe workplace. This week we are going to look at scaffolding. Scaffold is any temporary elevated platform, supported or suspended, and its supporting structure used for supporting employees and materials. The OSHA standard is 29CFR1926.450.

  • Employees are required to be trained in the correct use of scaffolding.
  • A competent person must observe the erection and dismantling of all scaffolding.
  • Scaffold is to be plum, square, and level.
  • Scaffolding shall be able to support at least 4 times the maximum intended load.
  • The competent person must also inspect scaffolding before each use. Common red, yellow, and green tags indicate if the scaffold is safe for use or not.
  • Scaffolds must be fully decked between uprights and must have a guardrail on all open sides and edges when greater than 10 feet.
  • Toe boards are required to prevent material from passing under the guardrails and falling below.
  • Scaffold planks must be indicated as being “scaffold grade” on the sides and must not deflect greater than 1/60th of the span when loaded.
  • Planks must extend at least 6 inches and no more than 18 inches over the supports.
  • Planking, if overlapped, must be placed over a support and must be overlapped by at least 12 inches.
  • Work platforms and walkways must be at least 18 inches wide and shall be
    tightly planked with no more than 1 inch gap between planks.
  • Access is to be provided to the scaffold so that employees do not climb on the frames and braces.
  • Tubular frame scaffold must have the legs pinned together with a securing means such as a pig tail.
  • Manually propelled scaffold on wheels must have a horizontal bar, diagonally installed, to prevent rocking of the scaffold.
  • Personnel are not permitted to ride the scaffolding while it is being positioned
    unless the employee takes a knee and the work surface is clean and free of hazards and is within 3 degrees of level.
  • Footing shall bear on substantial material to prevent displacement and shall be screw jacks or base plates.
  • If the bearing material cannot support the scaffold as required, each leg shall bear on top of mud sills to prevent collapse.
  • X bracing or cross bracing is required to be installed on the scaffold and cannot be climbed up.
  • Scaffolding greater than 3 feet in width must be tied into the structure at intervals not to exceed 30 feet horizontally and 26 feet vertically.