Scaffold – Safety

Employers must ensure the following:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s allowable load for the casters, scaffold components and platforms, along with recommended bracing to ensure a rigid and structurally sound scaffold.
  • Assess the work area, site conditions, and work to be performed.
  • Conduct a pre-operation inspection to verify that all scaffold components are functioning properly and/or are correctly assembled.
  • Keep the platform free from tripping hazards such as hand tools, equipment, or materials.
  • Lock scaffold wheels with positive wheel and/or wheel and swivel locks to prevent movement while in use.
  • Use guardrails which include top rails, mid- rails, and toe boards, or fall protection at working platform heights of 10 feet or higher.
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from energized power lines.
  • If outriggers are installed, deploy installed outriggers on both sides of the scaffold. All locking pins must be engaged before using the scaffold.
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Employers must ensure that workers have been effectively trained in the following:

  • Not to stand on the guardrail or use any components of the scaffold or other items (e.g., stepladders, buckets, boxes, barrels, etc.) inside the scaffold to gain additional standing height.
  • Not to try to pull yourself from one location to another while standing on the platform.
  • Not to use a scaffold if it is incomplete, broken or has missing or ill-fitting parts which need replacement. Contact your employer immediately.
  • Not to move the scaffold with worker(s) on the scaffold when:
    • The worker(s) on the scaffold is unaware of the move and/or the surface under the scaffold is not within 3 degrees of level and free of pits, holes or obstructions.
    • The worker is on any part of the scaffold which extends outward beyond the wheels, casters, or other supports.
    • Manual force is not being applied as close to the base as practicable. Manual force must be applied not more than 5 feet above the supporting surface.
    • The height to base width ratio of the scaffold during movement is greater than 2 to 1, unless the scaffold is designed and constructed to meet or exceed nationally recognized stability test requirements (such as ANSI/SIA A92.5 and A92.6) (1926.452(w)(6)(ii)).


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Employers must retrain employees when inadequacies are observed, changes in worksite conditions occur or when it is believed that an employee lacks the skill or understanding needed for safe work involving the erection, use or dismantling of the scaffold.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 61 fatalities occurred in the year 2018 from scaffolds, staging. All of these can be controlled by compliance with OSHA standards.

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