Scaffold Safety – LR 701.31

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Scaffold Safety
Policy Number: LR 701.31
Effective Date: September 22, 2008
Revised Dates:
Most Recent Review Date:


*Applicable OSHA Standard: 29 CFR 1926 Subpart L


The purpose of this program is to provide directions and instructions for safety requirements to be implemented with the construction, erection, and dismantling of scaffolds and ladders.


The scope of this program applies to all university jobsite locations where scaffolds and ladders may be used. The requirements, as set forth in this program, should be implemented to the fullest extent possible.


The primary responsibility for the implementation of the requirements of this program shall rest with the jobsite supervisor, foreman, or leadman of record.

The EHS manager or designee shall be responsible to provide for the monitoring of work activities to assure compliance to the requirements of this program and compliance to the contractor’s (if applicable) safety requirements.

Supervisors are responsible for employee compliance to safety requirements. In the case of contractors working on campus, the project manager, or foreman will be responsible for compliance.


The following requirements are applicable to all scaffolds:

  1. Guardrails and Toeboards:
    1. Guardrails shall be constructed of 2″ x 4″ lumber, 1/2 inch wire rope, angle iron, or the prefabricated rail(s) supplied by the scaffold manufacturer.
    2. Toprails shall be approximately 42 inches above the working surface.
    3. Midrails shall be approximately 21 inches above the working surface.
    4. Wire rope toprails and midrails shall be stretched tight with no more than an approximate 2 inch deflection.
    5. Toeboards shall extend a minimum of 4 inches above the working surface.
    6. When the placement of the scaffold work platform prevents the installation of guardrails, other fall protection equipment shall be used.
    7. Guardrails and toeboards shall be installed on all open sides and ends of scaffolds.
    8. Scaffolds and work platforms 4 feet to 10 feet high with a working surface of less than inches shall have standard guardrails installed on all open sides and ends of the scaffold or platform.
  2. Working Surfaces:
    1. Working surfaces shall be constructed of scaffold plank, aluminum deck boards, or 3/4″ construction grade plywood.
    2. Scaffold planking shall be scaffold grades or equivalent as recognized by approved grading rules for the species of wood used under the American Lumber Standards.
    3. Working surfaces shall be secured by nails, double wrap of #9 wire or cleats.
    4. Lumber sizes, when used in this program, refer to normal size/thickness except where otherwise state.
    5. Scaffold planks shall extend a minimum of 6 inches and a maximum of 12 inches over the end supports.
    6. If required, an access/egress ladder shall be provided.
    7. Scaffold planks shall not span more than 8 feet between supports/vertical legs.
    8. Scaffold planks and plywood shall be free of splits and burns.
  3. Scaffold Footing and Anchorage:
    1. The footing or anchorage shall be capable of carrying the maximum intended load without settling or displacement.
    2. The uprights/vertical legs shall be plumb and securely braced to prevent swaying and displacement.NOTE: The requirements for specific types of scaffolds and ladders are described below.
  4. Tubular Welded Frame:
    1. Scaffold shall be cross-braced to assure scaffold is plumb, square, and rigid.
    2. Stacking pins shall only be secured with the manufacturer’s pins or recommended bolts.
    3. Cross braces shall be secured, as designed by the manufacturer.
    4. Stationary scaffolds must be secured horizontally, every 26 feet of height and 30 feet horizontally, to prevent tipping.
    5. The height of rolling scaffolds, measured from the ground to the toprail, shall be no more than four times the minimum base dimension (length times the width).
    6. All wheels/casters shall be the same size, equipped with a positive locking device, and in good working condition.
    7. Wheels shall be locked while personnel are working from the scaffold.
    8. Personnel shall not be permitted on mobile scaffold while the scaffold is being moved.
  5. Tube and Coupler (Tube-Lock):
    1. Uprights shall have a maximum spacing of 8 feet.
    2. Uprights shall be placed on secure bases and maintained plumb.
    3. Scaffolds shall be limited in heights and working levels to those permitted in Tables 2-10, 11, and 12 of OSHA 29 CFR 1926.451.
    4. Horizontal braces shall be installed completely around all exterior uprights and between interior uprights. Braces shall be installed every 6 feet of height.
    5. Platform supports shall be coupled/clamped directly to the horizontal braces and extend 4 inches to 12 inches beyond the horizontal braces.
    6. All horizontal bracing shall be coupled/clamped directly to the uprights.
    7. Diagonal bracing shall be installed at alternating 45 degree angles beginning with the corner upright and repeating every 5th upright on the perimeter. An alternating bracing pattern should be used.
  6. One and Two Point Suspension Scaffolds:
    1. Cable shall be securely anchored and softeners shall be used when necessary.
    2. Cable shall be insulated at the anchor point from the motor to 4 feet above the motor and wherever the cable comes in contact with metal to prevent electrical arcing.
    3. Two-point suspension scaffold platforms shall remain level while being raised or lowered.
    4. Each employee shall wear a full body harness and be tied off to an independent lifeline. A lifeline shall be supplied for each employee.
  7. Knee Brace/Cantilever:
    1. Knee brace/cantilever scaffolding shall be welded by a qualified welder and visually inspected before use.
  8. Ladders:
    1. Ladders shall extend 36 inches above the landing.
    2. Extension and job-built ladders shall be secured to prevent movement or falling.
    3. Manufactured ladders shall be Class I or Class IA with properly working feet.
    4. The slope of the ladder from the base of the support shall be 1 foot for every 4 feet of ladder length.
    5. All ladders shall be set on a firm base to prevent shifting and tipping.
    6. Ladders with broken or missing rungs or steps, broken or split side rails, or faulty or defective construction, shall not be used.
    7. Metal ladders shall not be used.
    8. Step ladders shall not be used as a leaning ladder.
    9. Employees shall not work off the top two steps of a stepladder.
    10. Personnel shall have both hands free of tools, materials, or equipment, while climbing and descending ladders.
    11. Personnel shall face the ladder when climbing and descending.

Training Requirements

The project manager will be responsible for implementing the employee training and information program. The format for the program may include classroom instruction, safety tool box meetings, and other forms of group or singular instructions.

Instructions are normally communicated verbally or in writing through the employee’s supervisor. The project manager is responsible for assuring supervisors are qualified or competent in the following areas:

  1. Fall hazards and falling object hazards.
  2. Electrical hazards (protection from electrical hazards for erecting, maintaining, and dismantling).
  3. Fall protection and protection systems.
  4. Proper and safe handling of materials.
  5. Trained in the maximum intended loads and load-carrying capacities.
  6. Any other pertinent requirements.
  7. All ___________________________ employees will be trained in the above-mentioned, along with any additional basic or site requirements.
  8. ___________________________ will ensure that each employee follows the safety guidelines as set forth in Safe Work Practices.

Scaffolding Inspection Report
Scaffold Safety and Compliance Test
Scaffold Safety and Compliance Test Answers

Source: Environmental Health and Safety
Status: Active
Approved By: Environmental Health and Safety Committee
Custodian: Environmental Health and Safety Committee