Scaffold safety is directly addressed in OSHA standards for general industry, shipyard, marine and longshoring. The standards give specific requirements for load maximums, construction, when to work on scaffolds, bracing, planking, and guardrails. Scaffolding safety hazards include equipment collapse, workers falling off scaffold, tools and heavy materials falling off scaffold and electric shock. Employees must be trained in proper assembly of scaffolding, recognising scaffolding safety hazards and how to work safely on scaffolding.
Inspect Before Use
Supervisors and crew leaders should be familiar with OSHA scaffolding standards and regulations in their industry, and use a standardised checklist for scaffold inspection before use that reviews all required areas. A safety policy regarding scaffolding inspection and use helps manage compliance. Scaffolding must be used according to OSHA standards and regulations and manufacturer's instructions. Several key areas should be inspected before use, including the base, the legs and braces, locking devices and ties, cross members, planks, decks and guardrails. The base and cross members should be level, with no buckling or warping. Legs should be plumb, with proper bracing. Locking devices and ties should be tightly secured. All planks, decks and guardrails should be installed and secured, with no gaps or loose pieces anywhere in the structure.
Inspect Erected Scaffolding Daily
Supervisors, crew leaders, and employees should be trained, by a qualified person, about scaffolding safety hazard recognition and safe use according to OSHA standards and manufacturer's instructions. Scaffolding must be inspected daily for signs of safety hazards, improper assembly, correct and safe work practices performed while on the scaffolding, and wear and tear on equipment that needs repair or replacement. Specific areas that should be reviewed daily are the loads that are put on the scaffolding, safe access to platforms, level and secure attachment of bases, planks, and guardrails, and work practices while on scaffolding. Supervisors and crew leads should observe loads placed on scaffolding to ensure they don't exceed maximums per regulations and manufacturer's directions. Workers should have safe access to scaffolding and not have to jump up onto or climb up onto scaffolding to perform work. Bases, planks and guardrails should be inspected to be level and secure, not uneven or loose. A daily inspection checklist helps maintain and document daily inspections.
Intended Use Only
Scaffolding should not be used to transport material, store heavy loads while workers are not around, for horseplay, or for any purpose other than to support workers at heights they can't reach to perform work. Scaffolding should be accessed properly and safely, not climbed on or jumped on. Employees working on scaffolding should move slowly and carefully while on scaffolding, not running, jumping, or moving around quickly, especially while working with heavy tools and materials. Employees should not be on scaffolding for anything other than to perform safe work as intended. A scaffolding safe use checklist should include specific actions that can and cannot be done while on and around scaffolding, and be supported by and aligned with safety policies and procedures.