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The Basic Guide to Scaffolding Safety

April 21, 2023
June 21, 2023

Scaffolding is an integral part of building construction and maintenance. Despite the fact that these are temporary structures, a scaffold is built to support the weight of multiple people, as well as equipment. It must hold up over the course of a project, which could be months or even years. That means that safety guidelines are essential to reduce the risk of injury.

More than 2 million construction workers use scaffolding on an annual basis, which is 65% of the entire construction industry. Every year, scaffolding results in about 4,500 workplace injuries and 50 deaths. While those numbers are shocking, there are ways to decrease the risk of scaffolding accidents. 

6 scaffolding safety guidelines to know

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety Health Administration, sets guidelines for scaffolding safety. These guidelines occasionally change as time goes on, though state governments play a part as well. As of 2022, a few of the key scaffolding guidelines are as follows:

  • Supported scaffolding that goes above a 4:1 height-to-base ratio must be secured with a restraint.
  • Guardrails and/or fall-arrest systems are required on scaffolding for work done over 10 feet.
  • Platforms must be completely planked or decked.
  • Scaffolding must be able to support up to four times its maximum weight load.
  • Guardrails must be between 38 and 45 inches.
  • Scaffolds must be inspected before every work shift for safety.

4 common safety failures on scaffolding

Here are a few frequent safety failures that have been known to cause incidents on scaffolding: 

  1. Overloading the platform.
  2. Contactor altering the structure.
  3. Leaving debris and clutter.
  4. Having unstable footing.

Accidents do happen; inspections can help reduce these possible dangers, but educating your workers is also essential. It’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of scaffolds designed by different manufacturers. Reading the operating instructions can help workers understand the details and nuances of the structure, which can help to prevent accidents.

Work-Fit can help your employees feel safe on scaffolding

Enforcing scaffolding safety is just one important component of a safe construction site. Our team of experts at Work-Fit can help you develop safety initiatives for your construction workers, whether they’re working up high or on the ground. Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees safer and healthier. 


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