10 Steps to OSHA Scaffold Safety Compliance

Scaffold accidents are among the most tragic, so it’s no surprise that OSHA tightly regulates their use. Here are 10 steps to compliance.

These days, we live and work in a vertical world. Our buildings are taller, our homes have high ceilings, and our workplaces have grown upward to hold larger equipment and to make better use of real estate.

The device used to facilitate work in this type of environment is often the scaffold. It allows skyscraper windows to be washed, high-mounted light bulbs to be changed, and all manner of construction, maintenance, and service in high places. OSHA says that at least 2.3 million workers do their jobs on scaffolds.

Keep your workers safe on ladders and scaffolds with BLR’s low-cost, high-safety content PowerPoint plus booklet program, Staying Safe on Ladders & Scaffolds. Read more.

But along with its usefulness comes danger. Of falling off. Of scaffold collapse or overturning. Of debris hitting those below. For these reasons, OSHA has developed strict requirements for scaffolds and scaffold use. Here, from the BLR PowerPoint® training program, Staying Safe on Ladders and Scaffolds, are 10 important points to communicate to your workers:

1) Scaffolds must be specifically engineered for that purpose. Never jury-rig a scaffold from ladders and planks.

2) Supported scaffolds (those held up from below) must be placed on base plates or other firm foundations, must have platforms at least 18 inches wide, and must be built to hold at least four times the intended load.

3) Suspended scaffolds (those hung from above) must carry six times their intended load. There are also very specific requirements about the wire rope used to lift them and how it must be maintained.

4) Both kinds of scaffolds require toprails and toeboards of specified dimensions. Screens between the toprails and toeboards must be installed if people pass below the scaffold.

5) Before every shift, scaffolds must be inspected by a “competent person,” says OSHA.

6) Debris nets or other protective devices must be used under scaffolds if anyone can pass below them. Workers under scaffolds must wear hardhats. Workers on top of them should, too.

7) Workers on a scaffold should wear sturdy shoes with nonslip soles, move carefully, and avoid leaving materials on the scaffolds that might cause a trip or might fall on those below.

8) Fall protection devices are required when working more than 10 feet above the ground or the next level down. There are a variety of such devices. Which to use depends on the type of scaffold.

9) Care should be taken by workers at ground level to never hit or drive into a scaffold. This can easily happen if, say, a truck or forklift is backing, with limited rearward visibility.

10) Scaffold work should be avoided in stormy or windy weather, or when the platforms are slippery.

Construction workers. Painters. Window washers. Anyone who works at heights needs to be trained in safety. BLR’s Staying Safe on Ladders & Scaffolds PowerPoint plus booklet program is the tool to do it. Low in cost, too! Click for details.

The key is training

This article—and yesterday’s about ladder safety— provided information that could help your workers be safer. In fact, says OSHA, some 50 deaths a year and 4,500 reportable accidents could be avoided, just by observing its rules on scaffolds. Ladder accidents would be additional. The key is training. OSHA estimates that 25 percent of workers involved in scaffold accidents had no training in working on the devices.

For that reason, we wanted to bring to your attention the BLR program from which this information was drawn, Staying Safe on Ladders & Scaffolds. In just 30 quick-reading and fully illustrated slides, your workers will learn:

  • The hazards of ladder and scaffold work
  • Proper choice of ladder or other device for the job
  • Inspection and maintenance procedures
  • OSHA’s rules
  • Proper use of the devices
  • What to do if the devices are defective

    A great help to the program is BLR’s 16-page color booklet of the same name, 20 copies of which come standard with the PowerPoint. The slides and booklets are coordinated, and what workers see on screen is what they take home with them. There’s even a quiz section that, once completed, is signed by the employee and can be filed as proof of training. (Additional copies can be ordered at a discount.)

    This information could be viewed as priceless but, in fact, it comes at a very low price—just $99 for the entire program, with satisfaction assured or you get a full refund.

    For these reasons, our editors highly recommend BLR’s PowerPoint, Staying Safe on Ladders & Scaffolds. Click on one of the ordering links above for more information or to order.

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