Make Sure Adequate Fall Protection Is Available

Supported scaffolds are used for construction, repair, maintenance, and cleaning. Workers using scaffolds can be exposed to serious injuries from tip-overs, falling tools, falls, and contact with energized power lines.

Only trained and authorized workers should use, erect, or dismantle scaffolding.

Erecting a Scaffold

• Ensure that a competent person oversees the process.

• Use footings that are level, rigid, and capable of supporting settlement and displacement.

• Ensure that the scaffolding is plumb and level.

• Fasten all couplers and/or connections before assembling the next level.

• Avoid using scaffolding components from different manufacturers, as they may not be compatible.

• Ensure that adequate fall protection is available. This can be in the form of a guardrail or a personal fall arrest system. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that each employee working from a scaffold platform more than 10 feet from a lower level must be protected from falling to the working surface below. Your company may have more stringent requirements. Always follow your company’s scaffolding fall protection requirements.

Avoid using scaffolding components from different manufacturers, as they may not be compatible.

Using a Scaffold

• Always be familiar with and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Never load a scaffold beyond its maximum intended load or rated capacity.

• Do not use makeshift methods to increase the working height of the scaffold platform, such as ladders, buckets, or blocks.

• Never work on platforms covered with snow, ice, or other slippery material.

• Demarcate the surrounding area with traffic cones and/or caution tape if vehicle traffic or pedestrians are in the immediate area.

For more information, consult OSHA 1926.451 Scaffolds.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;