4.28 Scaffolding

Safety, Health, and Environmental Manual


These guidelines provide general requirements for the erection and use of scaffolding. Experienced vendors or contractors should be used when possible to set up scaffolding. Contractors should use their own scaffolding.

A qualified person is someone who has the necessary training or knowledge and is capable of identifying hazards associated with scaffolding and scaffold components.

  • A qualified person must be present when scaffolding is being erected and used. A qualified person must also have the authority to take prompt corrective action.

  • All employees involved in working with scaffolding must have documented training about the proper setup and use of scaffolds. This training should also include topics such as fall hazards, electrical hazards, and falling object hazards.

  • Volunteers should not be used to erect or use scaffolding.

  • Assemble and use scaffolds following best practices, local regulations, and manufacturer instructions.

  • A tagging system should be used to indicate the status of a scaffold. A qualified person should inspect the scaffold regularly—from erection until the scaffold is taken down and issued the appropriate tag. Tag options are:

    • Green. Indicates the scaffold is safe for use

    • Yellow. Indicates the scaffold is safe only under certain conditions

    • Red. Indicates scaffold is unsafe or unfit for use

  • Guardrails or fall-arrest systems are required on any scaffold platform six feet or higher.

  • Top-rails are required to be between 36 and 42 inches (90 and 107 cm) high from the scaffold platform. Mid-rails should be approximately halfway between the top-rail and the platform surface.

  • Toeboards should be at least four inches (10 cm) from the platform to the top of the toeboard and should be installed on all open sides of the scaffold.

  • Wire mesh or an equivalent should be installed between the toeboard and the guardrail if people will be working or passing underneath the scaffold or if materials may fall from the scaffold.

  • Supported scaffolds should be fully planked or decked; space between planks should not be more than one inch (2–3 cm) wide.

  • Scaffold planks should extend 6–18 inches (15–46 cm) past the end supports.

  • Screw jacks or other approved devices for leveling and foundations should be used.

  • Safe access, such as stairs or fixed ladders, must be provided to the working section of the scaffold.

  • If the scaffold has wheels, they must be locked. No person should be on the scaffold when it is moved.

  • If the scaffold is higher than 25 feet (8 m), it should be secured vertically and horizontally every 25 feet (8 m).

  • Scaffolds exceeding 60 feet (18 m) should be designed by a professional engineer.

  • People are not permitted to work on scaffolds in adverse weather conditions (high winds, snow or rain storms, and so on).

  • Always remain on the scaffold platform while working. Do not work from ladders or step stools while on a scaffold platform.