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Follow Scaffolding Safety Checklist

Scaffolding safety is a subject that must be taken very seriously. Both the equipment and training are essential aspects of protecting the workforce on a construction or maintenance job.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, cited a Colorado company for exposing employees to defective scaffoldings and ladders and failing to train employees on scaffold safety properly.

Such issues can be avoided. But, if a company shows intentional disregard for worker safety, OSHA will come calling.

Every contractor should have a scaffolding safety inspection checklist to remind everyone on the job of what to look for to prevent accidents.

Here is a checklist to rely on when using scaffolding on the job.

  • List the scaffolding inspection date
  • Location of the scaffolding
  • Who inspected the scaffold?

Check these items as you see them:

  • Have you taken all appropriate precautions, such as checking for overhead objects, uneven ground, open doors, overhead objects and falling and tripping hazards?
  • Will you need fall protection when using this scaffolding?
  • Scaffold equipment can support four times the maximum intended load.
  • The scaffolding is fully planked with no more than a 1-inch gap between planks.
  • The planks do not extend past the ends of the frame more than 12 inches
  • A personal fall arrest system or guardrails is used if work height is more than six feet.
  • Casters are locked before work begins.
  • Planks do not extend more than 12 inches past the end of scaffold frames
  • If workers remove front guardrails, the scaffold is 14 inches or less from face to work.
  • There is a minimum of 10 feet power line clearance.
  • The work platform is free of oil, clutter, mud and tripping hazards.

There are some general rules for scaffold support:

The height to base width ratio should be less than 4:1 if no ties, guying, or braces are required. Also, scaffold frames and uprights all require base plates.

Footings must be level, rigid and sound with no settling occurring.

Never use any unstable objects as work platforms, including buckets, bricks, and blocks.

Ensure that all riggers are secured and installed correctly.

There should never be more than a two-foot step up or down or a 14-inch step across to get on or off scaffolding platforms. The first rung of the ladder should be no more than 24 inches above the ground.

Attachable and hook-on ladders are designed for scaffolding and add-on ladders should have a rung length of at least 11-1/2 inches.

Ladders that are part of the scaffold frame should have rung lengths of at least 8 inches.

Rungs must line up vertically for the entire length of a scaffold.

Never use cross braces to climb up or down from the scaffolding.

Following these safety rules and using a checklist when working on scaffolding can directly result in fewer on-the-job accidents.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.