The OSHA scaffold standards

Each year there are over 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths from incidents involving scaffolding. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Occupational Health) is here to help ensure the safety of workers. This article focuses on the major updates to the OSHA scaffold standards, which were last revised on August 30, 1996.

Scaffold Function

The function of a scaffold is to provide a stable platform for the work can not be completed safely or easily formed from a ladder. Scaffolding is much more efficient for the construction of large size. You can have more than one worker on the scaffold at different levels.

Scaffold Safety Training Courses

OSHA Scaffold Related Courses

Scaffold Type

One type of scaffold, the scaffold supporting the base is constructed from heavy metal, wood or both. Another type is suspended from cables. Window cleaners are known to work on suspended scaffolds.

Capacity requirements

OSHA now requires that scaffolds are capable of supporting its own weight and maintain maximum load four times. This is to ensure that the scaffold does not collapse when building materials and working on them.


The scaffold platforms should not have a space of more than an inch (2.54 cm) between sections side by side when there is nothing to prohibit the regulation, such as the side rails. The space between the platforms and the vertical sections cannot be greater than 9 inches (24.13 cm) when the side rails are in use. This is to protect workers from falling for that space. Platforms must be at least 18 inches wide (45.72 cm).

Scaffold Railing

Handrails shall be placed on all sides, or safety harnesses should be used. The rails on all open ends and sides should now be between 38 (0.96 m) and 45 inches (1.14 m) tall. A front rail does not have to be used when the front of the scaffold is less than 14 inches (35.56 cm) of the work being done. The workers in a section of scaffolding that is over 10 feet (3.04 m) above other level scaffold shall be protected by railings. This is to prevent them from falling to the lowest level.

Scaffolding Support

The legs or supports of the scaffolding should be on a firm and solid foundation. Ties must be used to prevent the scaffolding from tipping when the height-base ratio is more than 4 to 1. Ties must be vertically placed every 20 feet (6.09 m) in a scaffold that is less than 3 feet (0.91 m) wide.

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