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 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.