Scaffolding has a variety of applications. It is used in new construction, routine maintenance, renovation, painting, repairing, and removal activities. In its simplest form, a scaffold is “any temporary elevated or suspended work surface used to support workers and/or materials”. There are many types of scaffolds, both supported and suspended. Scaffolding offers a safer and more comfortable work arrangement compared to leaning over edges, stretching overhead, and working from ladders. Scaffolding provides employees safe access to work locations, level and stable working platforms, and temporary storage for tools and materials for performing immediate tasks. Scaffolding accidents mainly involve personnel falls and falling materials caused by equipment failure, incorrect operating procedures, and environmental conditions. Additionally, scaffolding overloading is a frequent single cause of major scaffold failure.
EH&S/General Safety staff developed the campus Scaffolding Safety Program to ensure a safe work environment, to protect the health and safety of campus faculty, staff, and students, and to provide guidance for the safe selection, use, and maintenance of scaffolding equipment. This program is written in accordance with the requirements of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) as described in Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 29CFR 1910.28 Safety Requirements For Scaffolding, 29CFR 1910.29 Manually Propelled Mobile Scaffolds, and Title 8 California Code of Regulations (CCR), Subchapter 4.
The Scaffolding Safety Program applies to any department on campus, at field stations, or on leased property where any type of activities could result in injuries from usage of scaffolding. The campus Scaffolding Safety Program outlines roles and responsibilities for users of scaffolding (including fulltime employees, contract employees and graduate students performing research related activities in field stations and remote research facilities), EH&S/General Safety staff in managing this program, and “Owner Departments” that purchase, maintain and manage an inventory of scaffolding equipment. Additionally, this document describes all aspects of scaffolding use, inspection, personnel accountability for the condition and use of the equipment, safe work practices, training requirements, and record keeping.
The department owning the scaffolding or exposing personnel to scaffolding-related hazards is responsible for:
- Designating a “Competent Person” who will train and direct personnel involved in the erecting, dismantling, moving, operating, repairing, maintaining, working from, and inspection of\ scaffolding.
- Ensuring that all personnel working on or in the vicinity of scaffolding equipment are trained and authorized to do so.
- Ensuring that all personnel working on or in the vicinity of scaffolding equipment comply with the established safe work practices for scaffolding as outlined in the written Scaffolding Safety Program.
- Ensure all scaffolding equipment is properly maintained, required inspections are completed, and the associated documentation is retained.
For further assistance or information regarding scaffolding safety please contact EH&S/General Safety staff at 805.893.5532.