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At What Height Is Fall Protection Required On Scaffolds?

In this article we will be answering the question – At what height is fall protection required on scaffolds?

At What Height Is Fall Protection Required On Scaffolds?

The simple and direct answer is that fall protection is required for scaffold workers working at heights greater than 10 feet (3.05 meters) according to OSHA regulations.

However, it is essential to note that various regulations may apply to particular kinds of scaffolds or work conditions. Even at lower heights, fall protection measures like safety nets, personal fall arrest systems, and guardrails may be required in some instances. To ensure that you comply with the particular requirements that are applicable to your location and situation, it is essential to consult the relevant local regulations or safety authorities.

READ: 10 Basic Rules Of Scaffolding You Should Never Ignore

Scaffolding qualified technicians must carry out the erection and dismantling procedures. This includes examining the apparatus prior to assembly. According to section 130(3) of the O. Reg., scaffolds must be inspected before use and after any modifications.

Replace any damaged parts in accordance with the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Priority is given to safety which includes the following:

  1. Rule of three to one. A freestanding scaffolding tower’s total working height should be three times as high as the narrowest side of the base. If the outriggers are being measured, they should be positioned symmetrically around the tower. If the level surpasses three (3) times the most un-sidelong width, the framework tower should be gotten to a reasonable design or the pinnacle should be propped using appropriate assistance.
  2. According to section 130(1) of the Ontario Regulations, a scaffold must be designed by an engineer and erected in accordance with the design if its height greater than 15 meters for a frame scaffold or 10 meters for a tube and clamp scaffold.
  3. All towers should be leveled and plumbed.
  4. It is necessary to identify and control overhead dangers.
  5. Stay outside the approach limits when erecting scaffolding near power lines, as required by section 188 of O. Reg. 213/91, as well as the following Voltage of live power lines: minimum distance from electricity supply 750 to 150,000 volts 3 meters (10 feet) 150,001 to 250,000 volts 4.5 meters (15 feet) 250,001 volts and greater than 6 meters (20 feet)
  6. Before moving any scaffolds, always check for power lines overhead.
  7. In the vicinity of equipment and live electrical wires, observe the established approach limits.
  8. The local utility company should de-energize or insulate overhead power lines.
  9. During the erection and dismantling of the scaffold, as required by section 125(2) of O. Reg., wear appropriate fall protection.
  10. At the point when guardrails cannot be introduced on the framework, use fitting fall security hardware while working off platform (as expected by segment 26(3) of O. Reg. 213/91).
  11. The scaffold tower’s work areas can be accessed via a ladder.
  12. According to section 126(3) of the O. Reg., a scaffold should never be overloaded with people or materials. Do not exceed the load limits set by the manufacturer.
  13. According to section 129(3) of O. Reg., no one may remain on a rolling scaffold while it is being moved unless they are wearing adequate fall protection and the scaffold is being moved on a firm, level surface.


When working with scaffolds, safety is of the utmost importance. In 2020, there were 3,400 workplace injuries caused by scaffolding, 52 deaths, and approximately $90 million in lost workdays and other costs. Fortunately, these can frequently be avoided by following these steps:

  1. Make use of the right safety gear.

When working at heights, personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential. Personal fall arrest systems or guardrails must be used by scaffold workers at heights greater than 10 feet. Guardrails and personal fall arrest systems must be used to protect employees working on single-point and two-point adjustable scaffolds. Many injuries caused by scaffolding involve slipping or falling objects. To avoid serious injuries, wear a hard hat and non-slip shoes.

  1. Know about load limits.

The load-bearing capacities of scaffolding are specified. Scaffolds must be able to support four times the maximum intended load without failing, as required by OSHA. Components of a scaffold that are below this capacity may collapse, crack, or break.

  1. Do it right.

When building a scaffold, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Maintain at least 10 feet of space between the scaffold and electrical hazards to avoid power lines. If the distance has to be less than 10 feet, turn off the line’s power. The building, moving, and dismantling must be overseen by an experienced individual. Before each shift and after work is completed, OSHA mandates that a competent individual also conduct a visual inspection of the scaffolding. Make regular checks for defects, hazards, and debris. Check that:

  • Platforms are decked, fully planked, and equipped with appropriate guardrails, midrails, and toeboards on the exposed sides.
  • The toprails that are installed 38-45 inches above the platform on guardrails are secure.
  • To assist in supporting and holding heavier loads, bracing is positioned in a crosswise direction along the scaffold’s vertical distance.
  • Between the toprail and 20 to 30 inches above the work platform, midrails are installed.
  • The loaded scaffold can be supported by the solid, level footings.
  • To prevent tipping, guying ties (cables) are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or when the base reaches a height ratio of 4:1.
  1. Maintain the area’s order and cleanliness.

Organize and store tools and equipment after each use. Clutter can be dangerous for workers on lower levels or cause trips and falls. Install barriers to keep vehicles and heavy machinery from falling onto the scaffold base and causing it to collapse.

  1. Provide training to each employee.

Train scaffold users to identify, control, and minimize risks. Show legitimate arrangement, use, and treatment of materials considering the planned burden and type of framework used.


Safety In Scaffolding: What You Need To Know

Scaffolding is built when workers need to work from high places, and there is always a risk when workers are working at high places on a construction site. To avoid becoming a victim, construction workers must adhere to a variety of scaffolding safety procedures and requirements at work sites.

Basics of Scaffolding: Consider scaffolding to be temporary supports for workers. These structures, also known as “staging,” are frequently erected on the exterior of buildings or properties to support construction crews, the materials they are working with, and the tools they are using. Single and double scaffolding, cantilever scaffolding, suspended scaffolding, and trestle scaffolding are among the various types of scaffolding used in construction. To correctly select the kind of scaffolding that should be erected on the site, it is essential to examine the project. Scaffolding, when put together and used correctly, basically gives workers a safe way to work at heights.

READ: Scaffolding Definition: What You Need To Know About Scaffolding

Which industries make use of scaffolding?

Generally speaking, the construction industry mostly but not exclusively makes use of scaffolding. It can be assembled indoors or outdoors, depending on the type of work being done, though it is commonly set up for outdoor work. Brick and stone masons, for instance, construct scaffolding to construct property facades. Painters can work at heights both inside and outside by using scaffolding outside of buildings. Additionally, it is frequently put together for cleaning-related tasks like window washing.

Risks of Working on a Scaffold

Despite the fact that scaffolding is intended to assist construction workers in safely performing tasks at heights, using these temporary structures carries risks. The key word here is “temporary,” as these are not fixed structures but rather ones that are constructed, disassembled, and moved around a site based on where work is taking place at any given time. Because of this, scaffolding is dangerous and carries a greater risk.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s “Fatal Four” include falls which account for most workplace fatalities. Falling from scaffolding can be extremely dangerous for construction workers because they work at heights. Because building materials and tools are also at risk of falling, there is the potential for harm not only to the workers who are accessing the scaffolding but also to any workers who are working below it.


Tagging of Scaffolding

One method for ensuring the safety of scaffolding users is to tag them. Simply put, it is a method for determining whether a scaffold is safe or unsafe after assembly. The task of tagging must be carried out by a trained professional with prior experience putting together scaffolding. This individual will give the structure either a green, yellow, or red tag after an inspection. Although scaffold tags are not required by law, they are one of many important safety measures that workers on a job site should take to use the structure safely. They should be positioned at the scaffolding’s entry point so that anyone entering the structure is aware of any potential dangers or lack thereof. The following are the colors of the tag system:

  • Red: The scaffolding cannot be used safely. During the assembly or disassembly of scaffolding, these tags are frequently used to indicate that it is incomplete and poses a significant safety risk. If there was an accident or injury on the scaffolding, it may also be marked red until an investigation can begin.
  • Yellow: This indicates to proceed cautiously. It means that the scaffold can be used safely, but it was put together in a way that was not proper in order to better meet a particular need, requirement, or work environment.
  • Green: This indicates that the scaffolding can be accessed safely for the intended purpose.

Before each workday, scaffolding should ideally be inspected and the tags adjusted as necessary. To ensure worker safety, construction professionals should follow a checklist each day before workers report for their shift. The guardrails, connectors and fastenings, tie-ins, and planking should all be inspected as part of this checklist. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that materials are not stacked on scaffolding, putting strain on the structure.

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