Scaffolding Safety Tips and Hints

Scaffolding Frames Setup

Scaffolds offer many advantages over ladder-jack assemblies whether you are changing sky-high warehouse light bulbs or replacing windows on a two-story home. Framed scaffolds or pipe scaffolds provide a wider platform working surface, can be moved without disassembly, and feature guardrails to keep you from falling. Here’s how to safely use scaffolds to get things done off the ground.

  1. Make sure you are trained properly to set up scaffolding.
  2. Check location for ground conditions, overhead wires, obstructions, changes in surface elevation, and tie-in problems.
  3. Inspect frames, braces and all other components for damage, bends and excessive rust or wear.
  4. Use a safety harness which is tied off to the scaffold, building or lifeline.
  5. Assemble frame scaffolds with one other person so that one person is on the scaffold and one is passing materials from the ground.
  6. Check for squareness and alignment of all scaffold parts.
  7. Remove debris and mud from the setup area, and level the ground before placing the staging legs.
  8. Setup the staging legs on a stable, solid base. Use mudsills when scaffolding is erected on soil.
  9. Use appropriate mud sills that are continuous under at least two support feet.
  10. Nail or screw the base plates to the mudsills.
  11. Use jackscrews to eliminate hazards created by temporarily jacking up the erected scaffold to add shims when sections settle or are not level.
  12. Inspect locking devices frequently.
  13. Make sure all sections of the first level are level and square.
  14. Install ladders as the erection proceeds. When scaffolds are to be in place for an extended period, install a stairway. Ladders must extend 1 m (3 ft) above the platform and be tied securely to the staging.
  15. Fasten all braces and guardrails securely. Make sure all cross bracing fits and locks onto each post in every section.
  16. Install all of the guardrails that are required: top, mid and toe. Requirements will vary depending on the materials used, and on the the legislation that applies in your area.
  17. Inspect planks before use. Check the weight the planks will have to carry, including the weight of the crew, tools and materials.
  18. Complete platform fully at each working level before assembling the next level.
  19. Secure the scaffolding to the adjacent building structure as specified in the legislation that applies in your area.
  20. Assemble all equipment according to manufacturer’s specifications or engineer’s design.