Safety procedures when working on scaffolding

Written by george n. root iii
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Safety procedures when working on scaffolding
Always follow safety rules when working on scaffolding. (Image by, courtesy of Kevin Dooley)

Scaffolding is a common piece of construction equipment that should be used only by those who are aware of the proper operational safety procedures. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, approximately £58 million a year is lost because of scaffolding accidents.

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Design Requirements

According to, scaffolding should only be erected by those certified in proper scaffolding construction techniques. Any scaffolding over 125 feet tall must be pre-designed by a certified engineer.

Safe Decking

Decking on a scaffold should be made up of planks no less that 18 wide and the maximum space between planks should be no more than 1 inch. A contractor can request a wider space between planks if they need to put scaffolding around thick pipes or beams.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandates that guardrails be placed on the part of the platforms where work will be performed.

Hard Hats

Hard hats should be worn at all times in a scaffolding area to protect from falling objects and debris.


James Madison University recommends not covering scaffolding planks in any slick substances, even if used for preserving the wood. Only non-slip wood preservative material should be used.

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