Scaffolds are a necessary part of construction when workers must work above the ground and away from solid platforms. Because of their altitude, scaffolds can be a dangerous place to work, so construction workers must observe scaffolding safety guidelines while on a scaffold and erect the scaffolding in accordance with applicable standards.
The following are safety guidelines that must be followed when erecting and using scaffolding:
- Scaffold anchors must be sound, rigid and capable of supporting the maximum intended load without shifting.
- Freestanding, mobile scaffolds should have a base dimension of at least one half of the height.
- Scaffold planks should never be supported by unstable objects, such as bricks, barrels or boxes.
- Planks must extend 6 to 18 inches past end supports.
- Scaffolds should be secured to permanent structures with anchor bolts, and wheels should be locked into position.
- Guardrails, midrails and/or toeboards should be installed over the open sides and ends of platforms more than 4 feet off the ground. Lifelines should be used on scaffolds more than 10 feet off the ground.
- Do not overload scaffolds or allow tools, equipment or debris to accumulate on the scaffold.
- Keep floor free of debris.
- Do not work on scaffolds during storms or high winds.
- Remove ice and snow from scaffolds and cover planks with sand.
- Repair damaged scaffolds immediately.