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Scaffolding eTool

Overview

Common Hazards Associated with All Scaffolds:

  • Falls from elevation, due to lack of fall protection.
  • Collapse of the scaffold, caused by instability or overloading.
  • Being struck by falling tools, work materials, or debris.
  • Electrocution, principally due to proximity of the scaffold to overhead power lines.
Why Is Scaffold Safety Important?

When OSHA revised its Scaffolds standard in 1996, Bureau of Labor Statistics studies showed that 25% of workers injured in scaffold accidents had received no scaffold safety training, and 77% of scaffolds were not equipped with guardrails.

OSHA estimates that informed employers and workers, in compliance with correct safety standards, can save as many as 50 lives and prevent 4,500 accidents every year.

What Is a Scaffold?

A scaffold is defined as an elevated, temporary work platform. There are three basic types of scaffolds:

  • Supported scaffolds, which consist of one or more platforms supported by rigid, load- bearing members, such as poles, legs, frames, outriggers, etc.
  • Suspended scaffolds, which are one or more platforms suspended by ropes or other non-rigid, overhead support.
  • Other scaffolds, principally manlifts, personnel hoists, etc., which are sometimes thought of as vehicles or machinery, but can be regarded as another type of supported scaffold.
Who Uses Scaffolds

Workers on scaffolds can be divided into two groups:

Common Hazards

  • Access
  • Collapse
  • Electrical
  • Falls
  • Instability
  • Struck-by

Erectors and dismantlers are workers whose principal activity involves assembling and disassembling scaffolding before other work can commence, and after that work, or a portion of it, has been completed.

Training and Competent Person Requirements:

OSHA requires employers to provide training by a competent person to each employee who is involved in erecting and/or disassembling a scaffold. A competent person is defined as one who:

  • Is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards.
  • Has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Requirements for Designing and Constructing Scaffolds:

Scaffolds must be designed by a qualified person and be constructed and loaded in accordance with that design. OSHA defines a qualified person as one who:

  • Possesses a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing.
  • Has extensive knowledge, training and experience.
  • Can solve or resolve problems related to the work or the project.

A qualified person must do adequate preplanning to assure the safe erection and use of the scaffold. Preplanning includes:

  • Determining the type of scaffold necessary for the job.
  • Determining the maximum load of the scaffold.
  • Assuring a good foundation.
  • Avoiding electrical hazards.

Other References:

Common Hazards

  • Access
  • Collapse
  • Electrical
  • Falls
  • Struck-by

Scaffold users are those whose work requires them, at least some of the time, to be supported by scaffolding to access the area of a structure where that work is performed.

Training or Competent Person Requirements:

Employers are required by OSHA standards to have a qualified person provide training to each employee who performs work while on a scaffold. The training must enable employees to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold being used and to understand the procedures to control or minimize those hazards.

OSHA defines a qualified person as one who:

  • Possesses a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing.
  • Has extensive knowledge, training and experience.

Other References:

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