How to Lower Risks and Increase Safe Practices

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries reported that 68 people were killed in 2008 by falling from scaffolds. Also in 2008, scaffolding was the most commonly cited violation in the country by OSHA inspectors. The most common causes of injuries and fatalities are the planking or support giving way, or the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object. These hazards can and will occur when scaffolds are not erected or used properly.

These hazards can be controlled by using common sense and complying with the following OSHA standards:

  • A scaffold must be capable of supporting its own weight plus four times the maximum intended load.
  • Erect scaffolds on solid footing. Unstable objects, such as barrels, boxes, loose bricks etc., must not be used to support scaffolds or planks.
  • When erecting, moving, dismantling or altering scaffolds, a competent person must be present to supervise. Competent persons must also inspect scaffolds before use and regularly throughout use.
  • All scaffolds that are 10 feet or more above a lower level should be equipped with guardrails, midrails and toeboards. If guardrails are not installed, use a personal fall arrest system.
  • Immediately repair or replace any damaged scaffold accessories.
  • Platforms must be tightly planked on all working levels.
  • Use ladders, steps, or ramps to access levels that are 2 feet or more above the lower level.
  • Scaffolds must be kept at least 10 feet from electric power lines at all times.
  • Always wear a hardhat!
  • Do not work on scaffolds unless you have been properly trained to do so!


This information is provided as a service to you by Compliance Consultants, Inc.

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