Every year nearly 100 fatalities and 10,000 injuries occur on scaffolding across the country, despite numerous safety regulations aimed to prevent such incidents.
There are a number of different scaffold types, having different rules and regulations surrounding their assembly, fall prevention requirements, and inspection procedures. However, the following are universally true.
General rules for all scaffolding
- All employees who access scaffolding must receive training from their employer
- A competent person shall be clearly identified for all scaffolding work
- Guardrails and toe boards shall be installed on all open sides/ends of scaffolding platforms 6 feet or more above ground or floor level
- A hard hat must be worn at all times while working on or near scaffolding
- Employees shall not climb cross braces or end frames unless end frames are designed to be climbed. An access ladder, stair tower, or equivalent safe access shall be provided for all scaffolding.
- Do not use a ladder or other device on scaffolding platforms to increase height or reach
- Never use scaffolding until it is inspected and signed off by a competent person
- At the beginning of each shift, scaffolding must be inspected by a competent person. Use the Daily Scaffold Inspection tags. The tag must be hung where the employees access the scaffold.
- In addition, scaffolding must also be inspected after an event that may have compromised the structural integrity of the system
Assembling and disassembling scaffolding
- Scaffolding must be plumb and level
- Wheels or base plates must be used to establish a firm, level base
- Mud sills must be used if the scaffolding is constructed on soft or unstable ground
- Where people are required to work or pass under or near any scaffolding, a mesh screen shall be provided between the toe board and the top guardrail
- Planks shall not extend over the end supports less than 6 inches or more than 12 inches
- Free‐standing scaffolding towers shall not be higher than four times the maximum base dimension unless adequately secured to a suitable structure
- Scaffolding erected adjacent to any structure shall be secured and braced to that structure at intervals not to exceed 30 feet horizontal and 26 feet vertically
Washington Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation (FACE) Report: Laborer Climbing Scaffold Cross Braces Falls 25 Feet