Scaffolding Safety and Compliance

November 2021 Safety Topic

November 1, 2021

Scaffolding can be defined as a temporary structure on the outside of a building, made usually of wooden planks and metal poles, used by workers while building, repairing, or cleaning a building. Scaffolding violations and fall protection violations were the number 4 and 1 most violated rules, respectively, under OSHA in 2020. Fall hazards are the leading cause of worker death and account for 33.5% of all fatalities in construction each year.

  • Here is some important guidance about scaffolding safety:
  • Always wear the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on scaffolding, such as hard hat and proper footwear.
  • Scaffolding should be erected by trained personnel under the supervision of a competent person and inspected before use.
  • All platforms 4 ft. or higher in OSHA’s standard for General Industry and 6 ft. or higher for the standard for Construction should have a personal fall arrest system and guardrails.
  • Inspect fall arrest equipment for damage and wear. Then, anchor the system to a safe point that won’t allow you to free fall more than the height of the scaffold.
  • All platforms that have a guardrail must be at least 42 inches high.
  • Tools and equipment should be kept organized and put away after use. Falling tools will cause harm to people below if struck.
  • Working at heights during harsh weather or when other environmental hazards are present can increase the risk of injury.
  • Always use a fixed ladder, internal access stairway, or built-in ladder to access the working platform. Never climb with tools in your hand.

If you notice any situation that could be potentially unsafe regarding scaffolds and fall protection, stop what you are doing. Then, you can either correct the issue yourself if you feel safe or let your supervisor know to correct the issue. Documenting and sharing with co-workers also helps make sure similar instances do not occur again.

For more information or questions about Scaffolding Safety and Compliance, please speak with your supervisor or contact a member of the Campus Life Safety and Regulatory Compliance team.