Scaffolding is a commonly utilized tool in demolition/industrial work. It can be utilized as a work platform, for protection of structures near demolition work, and many other useful purposes. It is paramount that employees have the proper training and certification required while utilizing it in the work place.
There are several different types of scaffolding available and all must meet specific requirements to be legal and safe. Scaffolding from dealers are often not completely up to OSHA requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure the scaffolding you are working on is safe and correctly set up.
- All scaffolding erected higher than six (6) feet must have horizontal guardrails at 21 and 42 inches respectively around all sides of the scaffold work area (mesh may be used in place of a midrail).
- There must be a four (4) inch toe board around all sides of the scaffolding floor.
- The floor must be made of at least 2×10 inch planking or equivalent and be tightly pushed together forming a full deck (except for access ways).
- Access ways through guardrails must be protected by safety chains or a gate.
- Scaffolding should always be leveled before use.
- Scaffolding should be inspected prior to use.
- Always wear fall protection equipment in the form of personal fall arrest systems or safety nets.
- There should be a designated competent person on site at all times during the use.
There are three (3) main categories: light, medium and heavy work scaffolding. The area around the scaffold must be rope/taped off. If personnel need to be passing under the scaffolding, additional measures need to be taken to ensure that personnel cannot come into contact with falling objects.
Scaffolding can be a useful tool for performing specific work tasks, but it must be used correctly to ensure safety.