Safe-D: Scaffold Safety 101
Scaffolding must be erected, altered, moved, and dismantled in accordance with applicable OSHA standards and under the direct supervision of a scaffold competent person.
Scaffold components cannot be mixed if they are from different manufacturers unless they fit together without force. Unless the competent person has approved, scaffold components cannot be used if:
- They are from different manufacturers; or
- Of dissimilar metals.
Each employee who performs work on a scaffold shall be trained by a person qualified to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold used and to understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards. The training shall include such topics as the nature of any electrical hazards, fall hazards, falling object hazards, the maintenance and disassembly of the fall protection systems, the use of the scaffold, handling of materials, the capacity and the maximum intended load.
Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall bear on base plates and mud sills (or other adequate firm foundation). The size of the mud sill shall be based on the type of soil the scaffold will be erected upon.
Minimum Mud Sill Size Scaffolds
- 4 levels or less in height – 2″ x 10″ pad, 18″ long
- Scaffolds > 4 levels on Type A Soil – 2″ x 10″ pad, 18″ long
- Scaffolds > 4 levels on Type B Soil – 2″ x 18″ x 18″ pad
- Scaffolds > 4 levels on Type C Soil – 2″ x 36″ x 36″ pad
- Base Plates MUST be nailed to the mud sills on at least 2 opposite corners to prevent slippage.
- Unstable objects, such as bricks, cinder blocks, buckets, scrap lumber, etc., shall not be used to support or level scaffolds.
- Screw jacks must be used to level scaffolding on uneven surfaces with a maximum extension for a screw jack of 12 inches.
- Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall be plumb (i.e. perfectly vertical) and braced to prevent swaying and displacement.
- Cross-bracing is required on both front and back sides of each scaffold buck or frame.
- To check a scaffold for being plumb, use a level on two opposite uprights.
- To make sure the scaffold is level, use a level on a horizontal support or bearer.
- To ensure the scaffold is “square”, use a tape measure and measure the distance between opposite corners. The two measurements should be equal.