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Safety Tips | Fall protection

Scaffold safety

January 12, 2011

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Consistent and thorough inspections of scaffolding are crucial to ensure worker safety. OSHA offers the following checklist, which should be used to inspect scaffolds and their parts daily, and after any event that may cause damage.

  • Be certain that scaffolds and all tools and materials are kept at least 10 feet away from power lines or that those nearby are de-energized.
  • Verify the scaffold is the correct type for the particular job’s loads, materials, employees and weather conditions.
  • Verify Check the footing to ensure it is sound and stable and can hold the loaded scaffold.
  • Verify Check legs, posts, frames and uprights to see if they are on baseplates or mudsills.
  • Verify Metal components should be inspected for rust, holes, broken welds and noncompatible parts.
  • Verify Ensure safe access – do not use the cross-braces as a ladder for access or exit.
  • Verify Check for cracks or splits in wooden planks greater than one-quarter inch.
  • Verify If the planks deflect one-sixtieth of the span or 2 inches in a 10-foot wooden plank, the plank has been damaged and must not be used.
  • Verify Planks should be close together, with no more than 1 inch of space around uprights.
  • Verify Be sure 10-foot or shorter planks are 6 to 12 inches over the center line of the support, and that 10-foot or longer planks are no more than 18 inches over the end.
  • Verify Check to see that the platform is at least 14 inches away from the wall; 18 inches or less away if plastering stucco.
  • Verify Check guardrails on platforms where work is being performed.
  • Verify If the area is not barricaded, fallen object protection should be provided for employees working under the platform. Hard hats should be worn.
  • Verify Use braces, tie-ins and guying as described by the scaffold’s manufacturer at each end, vertically and horizontally to prevent tipping.

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