Scaffolding Safety

You may not realize how important scaffolding safety is.  During a seven-year period, OSHA statistics tell us that approximately 28% of the scaffold accidents that occur are because of construction deficiencies.  This includes things such as not completing the assembly or simply leaving out essential components.  Of the fatalities that occurred, there were 23% that were because of construction deficiencies.  There were 14% that happened while climbing the scaffold.  Also, 8% occurred during assembly or disassembly of the scaffold.  Other hazards to watch for are falling scaffolds and electrocutions.


A scaffold is defined as a temporary work/access platform

that is needed to perform jobs on a non-routine basis. General scaffold components consist of metal frames, platforms, base supports, side brackets, and support trusses. Metal frame scaffolds must be able to hold up to four times their rated capacity.


All metal frame scaffolds share common components: platforms, base supports, side brackets, and support trusses.  If the scaffold is 125 feet in height or greater, then it must be designed by a registered professional engineer.  All platforms need to be decked and fully planked.  Platforms should be a minimum of 18 inches in width with less than 1inch space between each platform.


When loading platforms make sure that weight is distributed evenly.  The heaviest load should be over vertical members but keep in mind that platforms can’t deflect greater than 1/60 of the span distance when loaded.  If a platform is less

distribute the weight evenly. Place the heaviest load over vertical members.


Scaffolding Safety Trivia

  1. True or False: When work has been completed then anyone can disassemble the scaffolding?

False, the scaffold shall only be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered under the supervision of competent persons.

  1. True or False: Is a written plan necessary prior to erecting scaffolding?

True, a fall protection plan must exist when erecting scaffolding.

  1. True or False: Heavy winds do not dictate whether you should be working on a scaffold or not?

False, employees shall not work on scaffolds during storms or high winds