Besides the obvious risk of falling off scaffolding, other hazards such as
excessively heavy loads and objects that fall off and hit those below can also
lead to scaffold-related deaths and injuries. These guidelines - courtesy of
the Montana Department of Labor & Industry - highlight some general scaffolding
safety standards that should be applied to minimize the risks.
- Employers that lease or purchase scaffolding should make sure that
safety instructions are included with the equipment.
- Scaffolding components should never be interchanged with components from a
- A competent person should supervise the construction of all scaffolding as
well as participate in inspections before and during shifts.
- Inspect, maintain and replace all parts of the scaffold and accessories
that are in poor condition.
- Scaffolds should support at least four times the anticipated weight of the
workers and materials that will be on them.
- Keep scaffolds, platforms, runways and floors free of ice, snow, grease,
mud or any other materials that could cause slipping.
- Place scaffolding on a firm, smooth foundation that prevents sideways
- Employees must not work on scaffolds during storms or high winds.
- Overhead protection must be provided for workers on a scaffold exposed to
- Toe boards should be used to protect workers from tools and equipment
falling from the platform.
- Do not use scaffolding if the working platform is not planked all the way
- All planking or platforms must be overlapped a minimum of 12 inches or
secured from movement.
- Tools, materials and debris must not be allowed to accumulate in quantities
to cause a hazard.
- Wire or fiber rope used for suspension must be capable of supporting at
least six times the intended load.
- Do not use a scaffold if the planks are not scaffold-grade, bearing the
- Provide hard hats to all employees working in an area where objects can
fall from above.
- Do not use rolling towers unless the wheels are locked, and never allow
workers to ride on rolling towers while they are being moved.
- Do not bridge between two scaffolds unless designed by a qualified person.
- Do not use a scaffold taller than four times the minimum base unless it is
tied, guyed or braced to prevent tipping.
- Provide a safe and convenient means for gaining access to the working
- Workers should not carry materials as they climb. Keep both hands on the
side rails or ladder.
- Do not perform heat-producing activities, such as welding or insulation
removal, without taking precautions to protect scaffold workers.
- Spacing between the platform and the uprights should not be more than 1
inch, unless it is demonstrated that the wider space is necessary.
- Scaffold planks should extend over their end supports not less than 6
inches and not more than 18 inches.
- Only qualified personnel who are physically and emotionally fit should
erect and dismantle scaffolding.
- Use two or more ladders for means of egress if necessary (when platforms
are longer than 30 feet, large equipment is between workers and ladders, and
anticipated continuous flow of traffic).
- All platforms must be at least 18 inches (two boards) wide.
- Planks and platforms should be fastened to the scaffold as necessary to
prevent uplift or displacement.
- Platforms and planks must not be painted; this will hide defects.
- Loads on the plank should be evenly distributed when possible.
- Post safety rules for scaffolding in obvious places, and make sure workers
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