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Toolbox Talk - Scaffold Safety

Toolbox Talk - Scaffold Safety
Disclaimer: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. However, it is to be used for reference purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topic presented.




Supported Scaffolds


Supported scaffolds consist of one or more platforms supported by outrigger beams, brackets, poles, legs, 

uprights, posts, frames, or similar rigid support. Supported scaffolds include fabricated frame scaffolds, tube and coupler scaffolds, wall brackets, form brackets, ladder jack and pump jack scaffolds.


Safety Requirements


  • Construct scaffolds on a level foundation. Make sure legs, posts, frames, poles, and uprights are 
  • set on base plates and mud sills when required.
  • Make sure footings can support the loaded scaffold without settlement or displacement. Inspect scaffolds prior to use to ensure they are stable and secure. A scaffold must be capable of supporting its own weight plus four times the maximum intended load.
  • Plumb or brace legs, posts, frames, and uprights to prevent swaying or displacement. Connect frames and panels by cross, horizontal or diagonal braces, as designed, to secure vertical members together laterally.
  • Do not use unstable objects such as boxes, buckets, barrels, or bricks. Only use scaffold system components.
  • Fully plank all working levels of the scaffold.
  • When a supported scaffold reaches a height that is more than four times its minimum base dimension (4:1), restrain the scaffold by guys, ties, or braces to prevent it from tipping.
  • Gain access to the scaffold through the use of a ladder, ramp, stairway, or fabricated metal frame. Never use cross bracing to climb the scaffold.
  • Keep platforms clear of unnecessary material and debris and address slippery conditions immediately.
  • Use fall protection (either a guardrail system or personal fall arrest system) when working on any scaffold 10 feet or more above a lower level.
  • Top rails shall be 39” – 45” high with a mid rail installed half-way between the top rail and the walking/working surface.
  • Install a 4” toe board around all open sides.
  • Maintain a minimum clearance of 10’ from all overhead power lines.
  • Do not work from scaffolds during storms or high winds.
  • Inspect all scaffolds prior to use. Using a tagging system displaying green for “ready for use,” yellow for “caution/use personal fall arrest,” or “red” for do not use, is a recommended Best Practice.
  • Each employee working on a scaffold must be trained by a qualified person.
  • Barricade the area below the scaffold to protect other workers from falling objects.
  • Always use scaffolds under the oversight of a competent person.

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Posted on Thursday, March 01, 2012 (Archive on Saturday, April 05, 2014)
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