Scaffolding Safety Tips & Tenants
November 3, 2020
Working on scaffolding is inherently dangerous which is why it is so important to take every reasonable step to mitigate said danger and ensure a safe job site.
There are three basic tenants to safe scaffolding use.
1. The scaffold must be built under the supervision of a competent person.
- A competent person, according to OSHA is; “one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions, which are unsanitary, hazardous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them."
2. Workers are to be trained by a qualified person on safe procedures for use prior to working on the scaffold.
- A qualified person is one who; “has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to solve or resolve problems related to the subject matter, the work, or the project.”
- A working at heights instructor for example would be a qualified person to instruct workers on the safe use of a scaffold
3. A competent person should check and tag the scaffold and components at the start of each shift to ensure proper safe working order.
Beyond these main tenants, here are some more tips for working safely on scaffolding.
- Ensure your footings are situated on a hard, stable & flat surface
- Level all 4 sides of your base configuration before building up
- Make sure your base configuration is square, if you are using a Custers® system this is what the yellow tabbed horizontal diagonal bar is for, so use it!
- If required by labour code for your desired configuration, install your outriggers as the final step in your base configuration, before building up
- As you build up, be sure to install guardrails along the way and take steps to limit your exposure on the uppermost working level
- If you are using a Custers® system, employ the mobile guard guardrail system as you go up in order to eliminate ever being exposed without full guardrails while building the tower
- Depending on your locality but typically at around 10’ from the ground, clip in with your fall arrest gear to a secure part of the scaffold
- Only climb on the inside of the scaffold, if you are using a Custers® system make use of the trapdoor platforms for ascent and descent
- Be sure to secure the wind locks on the platforms as they are installed
- Be sure to secure with pins or clips all connections, if you are using a Custers® system all of your guardrail connections will clip in automatically meaning only the frame pins need be manually secured
Finally, here is an excellent video demonstrating the safe erection of a scaffold tower.