Basic Rules Of Scaffolding – When it comes to scaffolding, there are basic rules you must always follow to ensure the safety of everyone on site. That’s why it’s important to know these 10 basic rules of scaffolding and always adhere to them during construction and renovation jobs, no matter what industry you’re in. This way, you can avoid accidents and injuries as well as reduce your liability.
10 Basic Rules Of Scaffolding
This is a list of basic rules that you should always follow while working with scaffolding. The majority of them are general safety rules that apply to any situation, regardless of what type of scaffolding you’re using or how many workers will be on it.
- The first rule of scaffolding is to ensure that it’s strong enough to support all workers, materials, and tools that will be placed on it. The National Construction Safety Team Act states that you must make sure any scaffold can hold 4 times its own weight. If a scaffold doesn’t meet or exceed these standards, stop working with it immediately and notify your supervisor so that he or she can do something about it.
- The second rule of scaffolding is to make sure it’s properly anchored and secure at all times. As stated in OSHA standards, if a scaffold wobbles or shifts more than 3 inches when workers climb on it or off of it, secure it before continuing to use it. If you have any doubts about whether a scaffold is solid enough to support your weight, don’t proceed until you address these concerns with your supervisor.
- The third rule of scaffolding is to make sure it’s stable before climbing on it. If you notice that a scaffold is unstable, don’t use it. If you must climb on a wobbly or unstable scaffold, tie yourself to it in order to secure your safety.
- The fourth rule of scaffolding is to wear all necessary safety gear. For example, if you’re working on a scaffold that’s more than 6 feet off of the ground, make sure you’re wearing a harness and other protective equipment.
- The fifth rule of scaffolding is to hold onto any tools or materials you’re carrying while on a scaffold. If you drop anything, it could potentially fall more than 6 feet and injure someone below you. This also means that you shouldn’t carry tools in your hand while walking on a shaky scaffold—instead, use a tool belt or bag so that everything stays securely attached to your person.
- The sixth rule of scaffolding is to wear any personal protective equipment (PPE) that your employer requires you to use, including hard hats and safety glasses. When using a ladder on a scaffold, make sure you’re wearing all of these things to ensure maximum protection.
- The seventh rule of scaffolding is to make sure your fall protection devices are all in good working order. For example, if you’re going to use a safety harness and lanyard, make sure they’re not tangled or frayed before putting them on. This will ensure that you have full support while on a scaffold. If you notice that your fall protection equipment is unsafe, immediately report it to your supervisor so that he or she can do something about it.
- The eighth rule of scaffolding is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. For example, when walking on a scaffold, look down to make sure you don’t trip or fall. This can seem like common sense, but it’s a very important safety practice.
- Install guards and toeboards on all scaffolds that are 10 feet or two frames above the ground (whichever is less).
- Have a competent person train all personnel in safe scaffolding use.
READ: Scaffolding Definition: What You Need To Know About Scaffolding
Osha Scaffolding Fact Sheet
The OSHA Scaffolding fact sheet contains lots of information pertaining to scaffold erecting, use and management. Some of the information in the fact sheet are:
OSHA’s scaffolding standard has several key provisions:
- Fall protection or fall arrest systems — Each employee more than 10 feet above a lower level shall be protected from falls by guardrails or a fall arrest system, except those on single-point and two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds. Each employee on a single-point and two-point adjustable suspended scaffold shall be protected by both a personal fall arrest system and a guardrail. 1926.451(g)(1)
- Guardrail height—The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service after January 1, 2000 must be between 38 inches (0.9 meters) and 45 inches (1.2 meters). The height of the toprail for scaffolds manufactured and placed in service before January 1, 2000 can be between 36 inches (0.9 meters) and 45 inches (1.2 meters). 1926.451(g)(4)(ii)
- Crossbracing—When the crosspoint of crossbracing is used as a toprail, it must be between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 48 inches (1.3 meters) above the work platform. 1926.451(g)(4)(xv)
- Midrails— Midrails must be installed approxi- mately halfway between the toprail and the platform surface. When a crosspoint of crossbracing is used as a midrail, it must be between 20 inches (0.5 meters) and 30 inches (0.8 m) above the work platform. 1926.451(g)(4)
- Footings—Support scaffold footings shall be level and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold. The legs, poles, frames, and uprights shall bear on base plates and mud sills. 1926.451(c)(2)
- Platforms—Supported scaffold platforms shall be fully planked or decked. 1926.451(b) • Guying ties, and braces—Supported scaffolds with a height-to-base of more than 4:1 shall be restrained from tipping by guying, tying, bracing, or the equivalent. 1926.451(c)(1)
- Capacity— Scaffolds and scaffold components must support at least 4 times the maximum intended load. Suspension scaffold rigging must at least 6 times the intended load. 1926.451(a)(1) and (3) procedures to control the hazards. 1926.454
- Inspections—Before each work shift and after any occurrence that could affect the structural integrity, a competent person must inspect the scaffold and scaffold components for visible defects. 1926.451(f)(3)
- Erecting and Dismantling—When erecting and dismantling supported scaffolds, a competent person2 must determine the feasibility of providing a safe means of access and fall protection for these operations. 1926.451(e)(9) & (g)(2)
When is a competent person required for scaffolding?
OSHA’s scaffolding standard defines a competent person as “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.” The standard requires a competent person to perform the following duties under these circumstances:
READ: Important Health and Safety Documents For Construction
- In General:
– To select and direct employees who erect, dis- mantle, move, or alter scaffolds. 1926.451(f)(7)
– To determine if it is safe for employees to work on or from a scaffold during storms or high winds and to ensure that a personal fall arrest system or wind screens protect these employees. (Note: Windscreens should not be used unless the scaffold is secured against the anticipated wind forces imposed.) 1926.451(f)(12)
- For Training:
– To train employees involved in erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, maintaining, or inspecting scaffolds to recognize associated work hazards. 1926.454(b)
- For Inspections:
– To inspect scaffolds and scaffold components for visible defects before each work shift and after any occurrence which could affect the structural integrity and to authorize prompt corrective actions. 1926.451(f)(3)