SCAFFOLD SAFETY GUIDELINES
Working safely with scaffolds really comes down to three things:
- Is the scaffold safe?
- Am I using the appropriate protective equipment?
- Am I following safe work practices?
The design and structure of the scaffold itself is extremely important to the safety of the user. That’s also why it’s important to inspect your scaffold each and every time you prepare to use it. Check the following:
- Be sure the footings are secure and capable of holding the weight that will be added.
- Check the guardrails. They should be two inches by four inches and three to three and a half feet high. Also, OSHA requires that guardrail supports are spaced at least every 10 feet apart on all open sides of the scaffold.
- Toeboards at least four inches high must run along all open sides.
- Check to see that there are screens between the toeboards and guardrails if people will be passing underneath the scaffold.
- Make sure all cross braces are secure.
- Always have a ladder handy to get on and off the scaffold.
- On wooden scaffolds, check to see that planks extend six to 18 inches beyond the end supports.
- Make sure that poles and legs are secure.
- Hard hats are required gear whether your working on a scaffold or near one.
- When working on a scaffold, wear non-skid shoes.
- When working on swinging scaffolds, use a safety belt attached to either a secure line or to a structure – not to the scaffold.
In some cases, you should also use a net to catch falling tools, or tolls you no longer need -but not to catch you.
- Be sure the scaffold is firmly secured
- Never overload it, keeping only the tools and materials you need on the scaffold
- If working outdoors in bad weather, put sand on the surface of the scaffold to prevent slipping
- Remove all equipment and debris from scaffold at the end of your shift
- Always watch out below