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Safety Tips | Fall protection

General guidelines for scaffolding safety

November 1, 2012

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Scaffolds can be a safer and more productive way to work than ladders, but they must be set up correctly, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health warns, noting that the majority of fatal falls among construction workers in Massachusetts involve scaffolds.

The department recommends workers follow these general provisions:

  • Scaffolding should be assembled under the supervision and direction of a competent person.
  • Provide safe ladder access – workers should never climb on braces or structural members/frames.
  • Use scaffold-grade lumber when creating platforms.
  • Install guards and toeboards on all scaffolds that are 10 feet or two frames above the ground (whichever is less).
  • Have a competent person train all personnel in safe scaffolding use.
  • Ensure the structure is able to support 4 times the maximum intended load, including its own weight.

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