Scaffolding Safety and Best Practices


  • Since 2003 more than 650 workers have lost their lives while working from scaffolding platforms. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The requirements for scaffold erection and inspection are often overlooked as compliance can be a challenge on a large construction site where several jobs are running and there are few competent employees available to perform the required daily inspection.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific requirements to ensure scaffolding safety. Scaffolding (general requirements - construction) has been one of the top 10 most frequently cited standards for the past 10 years.


Scaffolding best practices can be incorporated into day-to-day operations with a simple Scaffold Safety Management System. This management system incorporates inspection and tagging by a competent person prior to the initial and daily use of scaffolds, resulting in OSHA compliance and reducing the risk of incident. 

Scaffold Safety Management System Elements

  • Communicates the scaffold safety status
    • The typical system uses color-coded tags for easy identification
  • Ensures unsafe and incomplete scaffolds are not used
  • Communicates any additional safety requirements
    • Tags are coded with special requirements, such as personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) or tool lanyards.
  • A competent person performs the inspections and affixes tags

Tagging Systems 

Tagging systems can be customized by the organization but typically include Red, Yellow and Green tags.

Red Tag: Do not access scaffolding 

  • Scaffold is incomplete or unsafe
  • Daily inspection has not been performed

Yellow Tag: Scaffolding inspection has been performed and additional safety requirements are necessary for users 

  • PFAS must be used
  • Tool lanyards are required

Green Tag: Inspection has been performed and scaffold is safe to use 

Competent Person Responsibilities: 

  • Inspect the scaffold for visible defects before each shift and after any alterations are performed
  • Replace defective parts immediately
  • Ensure an appropriate means of access is provided
  • Trains workers to recognize hazards
  • Determine if it is safe to work on a scaffold during storms, inclement weather (snow/icing conditions), or high winds
  • Supervise the erection, moving, dismantling, or altering of the scaffold
  • Place appropriate tag on access point(s) of the scaffold

Incorporating a Scaffold Safety Management System into your day-to-day operations can reduce liability and save lives.  Contact your HUB Advisor to learn more. 

Click here to download the PDF.