Scaffold Safety Guidelines
Working safely with scaffolds really comes down to three things: 1.)
Is the scaffold safe? 2.) Am I using the appropriate protective
equipment? 3.) Am I following safe work practices?
Is the Scaffold Safe?
The design and structure of the scaffold itself is extremely important to
the safety of the user. That's also why it's important to inspect your
scaffold each and every time you prepare to use it. Check the following:
Am I Using the Appropriate Protective Equipment?
- Be sure the footings are secure and capable of holding the weight
that will be added.
- Check the guardrails. They should be two inches by four inches and
three to three and a half feet high. Also, OSHA requires that guardrail
supports are spaced at least every 10 feet apart on all open sides of the
- Toeboards at least four inches high must run along all open sides.
- Check to see that there are screens between the toeboards and
guardrails if people will be passing underneath the scaffold.
- Make sure all cross braces are secure.
- Always have a ladder handy to get on and off the scaffold.
- On wooden scaffolds, check to see that planks extend six to 18 inches
beyond the end supports.
- Make sure that poles and legs are secure.
Keep the following points in mind when working with scaffolds:
- Hard hats are required gear whether your working on a scaffold or
- When working on a scaffold, wear non-skid shoes.
- When working on swinging scaffolds, use a safety belt attached to
either a secure line or to a structure - not to the scaffold.
In some cases, you should also use a net to catch falling tools, or tolls
you no longer need -but not to catch you.
Am I Following Safe Work Practices?
Here are some general do's and don'ts for working safely on scaffolds:
- Be sure the scaffold is firmly secured
- Never overload it, keeping only the tools and materials you need on
- If working outdoors in bad weather, put sand on the surface of the
scaffold to prevent slipping
- Remove all equipment and debris from scaffold at the end of your shift
- Always watch out below