OSHA Scaffold Safety
29 CFR 1926.451 Scaffolds Standard
Scaffolding can provide construction workers an efficient and safe means to perform work. Scaffolding is used in construction, alteration, routine maintenance, and renovation. When it is properly erected and maintained, scaffolding provides employees safe access to work areas, level and stable working platforms, and temporary storage for work tools and materials.
On the other hand, unsafe scaffolding procedures can cause accidents, serious injuries and even death. Accidents involving scaffolding mainly involve falling, incorrect operating procedures, environmental conditions, and falling objects.
This course will cover the general requirements of scaffolding, the basic parts of a scaffold as well as the different types of scaffolding. It will demonstrate that planning ahead for the erection, use and dismantling of scaffolding can decrease the potential for accidents and injuries. It will also cover the precautions required to prevent these accidents and protect workers against injures and death.
OSHA Scaffold Safety - Curriculum
In this lesson you will learn about the origins of the OSHA scaffold safety standard.
In this lesson, you will learn about the definition of of a scaffold and the basic functionality and requirements of a scaffold.
In this lesson you will learn what types of workers may need to use a scaffold and in what situations.
This lesson explores scaffold specific terms that all employees should know.
This lesson covers the general requirements of the OSHA scaffold standard.
This lesson covers the roles and responsibilities of ‘competent persons’.
This lesson covers the roles and responsibilities of ‘qualified persons’.
This lesson covers the training requirements of the OSHA scaffold standard.
This lesson introduces supported scaffold then provides detaiule dinformation on all aspects of supported scaffold build and safety.
This lesson covers the criteria for supported scaffolds.
This lesson covers the access requirements applicable to supported scaffolds.
This lesson covers the use requirements of supported scaffolds.
This lesson covers the fall protection requirements for the use of supported scaffolds.
Suspension Scaffolds and Lifts
This lesson introduces suspended scaffolds.
This lesson looks at lifts related to scaffolding.
This lesson covers the detailed criteria for suspended scaffolds.
This lesson covers fall protection requirements for suspended scaffolds and lifts.
OSHA Certificate of Compliance
After successfully completing the training, you can buy the official OSHA Scaffold Safety Certificate for just $18.95.
Instant access and email delivery means you’re OSHA 29 CFR 1926.451 Scaffold Safety compliant immediately. Your certificate will be permanently stored in your account where it can be verified or re-printed at any time.
OSHA Information and Disclaimer
This website is not the official or final authority to determine OSHA compliance responsibilities, which are set forth in OSHA standards themselves, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Because OSHA regulations are constantly being added, deleted, and/or revised, you must not rely on this website as the official or final authority of OSHA training requirements; refer to the official OSHA regulations available on OSHA’s website (osha.gov). - Click anywhere to read disclaimers.
- Part Number:1926
- Part Number Title:Safety and Health Regulations for Construction
- Subpart:1926 Subpart L
- Subpart Title:Scaffolds
- Standard Number:
- Title:General requirements.
- GPO Source:
This section does not apply to aerial lifts, the criteria for which are set out exclusively in 1926.453.
Direct connections to roofs and floors, and counterweights used to balance adjustable suspension scaffolds, shall be capable of resisting at least 4 times the tipping moment imposed by the scaffold operating at the rated load of the hoist, or 1.5 (minimum) times the tipping moment imposed by the scaffold operating at the stall load of the hoist, whichever is greater.
Each suspension rope, including connecting hardware, used on non-adjustable suspension scaffolds shall be capable of supporting, without failure, at least 6 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to that rope.
Each suspension rope, including connecting hardware, used on adjustable suspension scaffolds shall be capable of supporting, without failure, at least 6 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to that rope with the scaffold operating at either the rated load of the hoist, or 2 (minimum) times the stall load of the hoist, whichever is greater.
Each platform unit (e.g., scaffold plank, fabricated plank, fabricated deck, or fabricated platform) shall be installed so that the space between adjacent units and the space between the platform and the uprights is no more than 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide, except where the employer can demonstrate that a wider space is necessary (for example, to fit around uprights when side brackets are used to extend the width of the platform).
Where the employer makes the demonstration provided for in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, the platform shall be planked or decked as fully as possible and the remaining open space between the platform and the uprights shall not exceed 9 1/2 inches (24.1 cm).
Exception to paragraph (b)(1): The requirement in paragraph (b)(1) to provide full planking or decking does not apply to platforms used solely as walkways or solely by employees performing scaffold erection or dismantling. In these situations, only the planking that the employer establishes is necessary to provide safe working conditions is required.
Each ladder jack scaffold, top plate bracket scaffold, roof bracket scaffold, and pump jack scaffold shall be at least 12 inches (30 cm) wide. There is no minimum width requirement for boatswains’ chairs.
Note to paragraph (b)(2)(i): Pursuant to an administrative stay effective November 29, 1996 and published in the Federal Register on November 25, 1996, the requirement in paragraph (b)(2)(i) that roof bracket scaffolds be at least 12 inches wide is stayed until November 25, 1997 or until rulemaking reguarding the minimum width of roof bracket scaffolds has been completed, whichever is later.
Where scaffolds must be used in areas that the employer can demonstrate are so narrow that platforms and walkways cannot be at least 18 inches (46 cm) wide, such platforms and walkways shall be as wide as feasible, and employees on those platforms and walkways shall be protected from fall hazards by the use of guardrails and/or personal fall arrest systems.
Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(3)(i) and (ii) of this section, the front edge of all platforms shall not be more than 14 inches (36 cm) from the face of the work, unless guardrail systems are erected along the front edge and/or personal fall arrest systems are used in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section to protect employees from falling.
Each end of a platform 10 feet or less in length shall not extend over its support more than 12 inches (30 cm) unless the platform is designed and installed so that the cantilevered portion of the platform is able to support employees and/or materials without tipping, or has guardrails which block employee access to the cantilevered end.
Each platform greater than 10 feet in length shall not extend over its support more than 18 inches (46 cm), unless it is designed and installed so that the cantilevered portion of the platform is able to support employees without tipping, or has guardrails which block employee access to the cantilevered end.
On scaffolds where scaffold planks are abutted to create a long platform, each abutted end shall rest on a separate support surface. This provision does not preclude the use of common support members, such as “T” sections, to support abutting planks, or hook on platforms designed to rest on common supports.
Wood platforms shall not be covered with opaque finishes, except that platform edges may be covered or marked for identification. Platforms may be coated periodically with wood preservatives, fire-retardant finishes, and slip-resistant finishes; however, the coating may not obscure the top or bottom wood surfaces.
Scaffold components manufactured by different manufacturers shall not be intermixed unless the components fit together without force and the scaffold’s structural integrity is maintained by the user. Scaffold components manufactured by different manufacturers shall not be modified in order to intermix them unless a competent person determines the resulting scaffold is structurally sound.
Scaffold components made of dissimilar metals shall not be used together unless a competent person has determined that galvanic action will not reduce the strength of any component to a level below that required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
Guys, ties, and braces shall be installed according to the scaffold manufacturer’s recommendations or at the closest horizontal member to the 4:1 height and be repeated vertically at locations of horizontal members every 20 feet (6.1 m) or less thereafter for scaffolds 3 feet (0.91 m) wide or less, and every 26 feet (7.9 m) or less thereafter for scaffolds greater than 3 feet (0.91 m) wide. The top guy, tie or brace of completed scaffolds shall be placed no further than the 4:1 height from the top. Such guys, ties and braces shall be installed at each end of the scaffold and at horizontal intervals not to exceed 30 feet (9.1 m) (measured from one end [not both] towards the other).
Ties, guys, braces, or outriggers shall be used to prevent the tipping of supported scaffolds in all circumstances where an eccentric load, such as a cantilevered work platform, is applied or is transmitted to the scaffold.
Supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights shall be plumb and braced to prevent swaying and displacement.
All suspension scaffold support devices, such as outrigger beams, cornice hooks, parapet clamps, and similar devices, shall rest on surfaces capable of supporting at least 4 times the load imposed on them by the scaffold operating at the rated load of the hoist (or at least 1.5 times the load imposed on them by the scaffold at the stall capacity of the hoist, whichever is greater).
The inboard ends of suspension scaffold outrigger beams shall be stabilized by bolts or other direct connections to the floor or roof deck, or they shall have their inboard ends stabilized by counterweights, except masons’ multi-point adjustable suspension scaffold outrigger beams shall not be stabilized by counterweights.
Before the scaffold is used, direct connections shall be evaluated by a competent person who shall confirm, based on the evaluation, that the supporting surfaces are capable of supporting the loads to be imposed. In addition, masons’ multi-point adjustable suspension scaffold connections shall be designed by an engineer experienced in such scaffold design.
Counterweights shall be made of non-flowable material. Sand, gravel and similar materials that can be easily dislocated shall not be used as counterweights.
Outrigger beams shall be placed perpendicular to its bearing support (usually the face of the building or structure). However, where the employer can demonstrate that it is not possible to place an outrigger beam perpendicular to the face of the building or structure because of obstructions that cannot be moved, the outrigger beam may be placed at some other angle, provided opposing angle tiebacks are used.
Suspension scaffold support devices such as cornice hooks, roof hooks, roof irons, parapet clamps, or similar devices shall be:
Secured against movement by tiebacks installed at right angles to the face of the building or structure, or opposing angle tiebacks shall be installed and secured to a structurally sound point of anchorage on the building or structure. Sound points of anchorage include structural members, but do not include standpipes, vents, other piping systems, or electrical conduit.
When winding drum hoists are used on a suspension scaffold, they shall contain not less than four wraps of the suspension rope at the lowest point of scaffold travel. When other types of hoists are used, the suspension ropes shall be long enough to allow the scaffold to be lowered to the level below without the rope end passing through the hoist, or the rope end shall be configured or provided with means to prevent the end from passing through the hoist.
The use of repaired wire rope as suspension rope is prohibited.
Heat damage caused by a torch or any damage caused by contact with electrical wires.
Swaged attachments or spliced eyes on wire suspension ropes shall not be used unless they are made by the wire rope manufacturer or a qualified person.
U-bolt clips shall not be used at the point of suspension for any scaffold hoist;
In addition to the normal operating brake, suspension scaffold power-operated hoists and manually operated hoists shall have a braking device or locking pawl which engages automatically when a hoist makes either of the following uncontrolled movements: an instantaneous change in momentum or an accelerated overspeed.
Two-point and multi-point suspension scaffolds shall be tied or otherwise secured to prevent them from swaying, as determined to be necessary based on an evaluation by a competent person. Window cleaners’ anchors shall not be used for this purpose.
When scaffold platforms are more than 2 feet (0.6 m) above or below a point of access, portable ladders, hook-on ladders, attachable ladders, stair towers (scaffold stairways/towers), stairway-type ladders (such as ladder stands), ramps, walkways, integral prefabricated scaffold access, or direct access from another scaffold, structure, personnel hoist, or similar surface shall be used. Crossbraces shall not be used as a means of access.
Hook-on and attachable ladders shall be positioned so that their bottom rung is not more than 24 inches (61 cm) above the scaffold supporting level;
Have slip-resistant treads on all steps and landings.
Handrails, and toprails that are used as handrails, shall be at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) from other objects.
Tread depth shall be uniform, within 1/4 inch, for each flight of stairs.
Be uniformly spaced within each frame section;
Effective September 2, 1997, access for employees erecting or dismantling supported scaffolds shall be in accordance with the following:
The employer shall provide safe means of access for each employee erecting or dismantling a scaffold where the provision of safe access is feasible and does not create a greater hazard. The employer shall have a competent person determine whether it is feasible or would pose a greater hazard to provide, and have employees use a safe means of access. This determination shall be based on site conditions and the type of scaffold being erected or dismantled.
When erecting or dismantling tubular welded frame scaffolds, (end) frames, with horizontal members that are parallel, level and are not more than 22 inches apart vertically may be used as climbing devices for access, provided they are erected in a manner that creates a usable ladder and provides good hand hold and foot space.
The use of shore or lean-to scaffolds is prohibited.
The clearance between scaffolds and power lines shall be as follows: Scaffolds shall not be erected, used, dismantled, altered, or moved such that they or any conductive material handled on them might come closer to exposed and energized power lines than as follows:
*Insulated Lines _____________________________________________________________________ | | Voltage | Minimum distance | Alternatives ____________________|________________________|_______________________ | | Less than 300 volts.| 3 feet (0.9 m) | 300 volts to 50 kv.| 10 feet (3.1 m) | More than 50 kv.....| 10 feet (3.1 m) plus | 2 times the length | 0.4 inches (1.0 cm) | of the line | for each 1 kv over | insulator, but never | 50 kv. | less than 10 | | feet (3.1 m). ____________________|________________________|_______________________ *Uninsulated lines _____________________________________________________________________ | | Voltage | Minimum distance | Alternatives ____________________|________________________|_______________________ | | Less than 50 kv.....| 10 feet (3.1 m). | More than 50 kv.....| 10 feet (3.1 m) plus | 2 times the length of | 0.4 inches (1.0 cm) | the line insulator, | for each 1 kv over | but never less than | 50 kv. | 10 feet (3.1 m). ____________________|________________________|_______________________
Exception to paragraph (f)(6): Scaffolds and materials may be closer to power lines than specified above where such clearance is necessary for performance of work, and only after the utility company, or electrical system operator, has been notified of the need to work closer and the utility company, or electrical system operator, has deenergized the lines, relocated the lines, or installed protective coverings to prevent accidental contact with the lines.
Scaffolds shall be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered only under the supervision and direction of a competent person qualified in scaffold erection, moving, dismantling or alteration. Such activities shall be performed only by experienced and trained employees selected for such work by the competent person.
Work on or from scaffolds is prohibited during storms or high winds unless a competent person has determined that it is safe for employees to be on the scaffold and those employees are protected by a personal fall arrest system or wind screens. Wind screens shall not be used unless the scaffold is secured against the anticipated wind forces imposed.
Debris shall not be allowed to accumulate on platforms.
To reduce the possibility of welding current arcing through the suspension wire rope when performing welding from suspended scaffolds, the following precautions shall be taken, as applicable:
The suspension wire rope shall be covered with insulating material extending at least 4 feet (1.2 m) above the hoist. If there is a tail line below the hoist, it shall be insulated to prevent contact with the platform. The portion of the tail line that hangs free below the scaffold shall be guided or retained, or both, so that it does not become grounded;
In addition to a work lead attachment required by the welding process, a grounding conductor shall be connected from the scaffold to the structure. The size of this conductor shall be at least the size of the welding process work lead, and this conductor shall not be in series with the welding process or the work piece;
An active welding rod or uninsulated welding lead shall not be allowed to contact the scaffold or its suspension system.
Each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet (3.1 m) above a lower level shall be protected from falling to that lower level. Paragraphs (g)(1)(i) through (vii) of this section establish the types of fall protection to be provided to the employees on each type of scaffold. Paragraph (g)(2) of this section addresses fall protection for scaffold erectors and dismantlers.
Note to paragraph (g)(1): The fall protection requirements for employees installing suspension scaffold support systems on floors, roofs, and other elevated surfaces are set forth in subpart M of this part.
Each employee on a self-contained adjustable scaffold shall be protected by a guardrail system (with minimum 200 pound toprail capacity) when the platform is supported by the frame structure, and by both a personal fall arrest system and a guardrail system (with minimum 200 pound toprail capacity) when the platform is supported by ropes;
Each employee performing overhand bricklaying operations from a supported scaffold shall be protected from falling from all open sides and ends of the scaffold (except at the side next to the wall being laid) by the use of a personal fall arrest system or guardrail system (with minimum 200 pound toprail capacity).
Effective September 2, 1997, the employer shall have a competent person determine the feasibility and safety of providing fall protection for employees erecting or dismantling supported scaffolds. Employers are required to provide fall protection for employees erecting or dismantling supported scaffolds where the installation and use of such protection is feasible and does not create a greater hazard.
In addition to meeting the requirements of 1926.502(d), personal fall arrest systems used on scaffolds shall be attached by lanyard to a vertical lifeline, horizontal lifeline, or scaffold structural member. Vertical lifelines shall not be used when overhead components, such as overhead protection or additional platform levels, are part of a single-point or two-point adjustable suspension scaffold.
When vertical lifelines are used, they shall be fastened to a fixed safe point of anchorage, shall be independent of the scaffold, and shall be protected from sharp edges and abrasion. Safe points of anchorage include structural members of buildings, but do not include standpipes, vents, other piping systems, electrical conduit, outrigger beams, or counterweights.
When horizontal lifelines are used, they shall be secured to two or more structural members of the scaffold, or they may be looped around both suspension and independent suspension lines (on scaffolds so equipped) above the hoist and brake attached to the end of the scaffold. Horizontal lifelines shall not be attached only to the suspension ropes.
When lanyards are connected to horizontal lifelines or structural members on a single-point or two-point adjustable suspension scaffold, the scaffold shall be equipped with additional independent support lines and automatic locking devices capable of stopping the fall of the scaffold in the event one or both of the suspension ropes fail. The independent support lines shall be equal in number and strength to the suspension ropes.
The top edge height of toprails or equivalent member on supported scaffolds manufactured or placed in service after January 1, 2000 shall be installed between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 45 inches (1.2 m) above the platform surface. The top edge height on supported scaffolds manufactured and placed in service before January 1, 2000, and on all suspended scaffolds where both a guardrail and a personal fall arrest system are required shall be between 36 inches (0.9 m) and 45 inches (1.2 m). When conditions warrant, the height of the top edge may exceed the 45-inch height, provided the guardrail system meets all other criteria of paragraph (g)(4).
Each toprail or equivalent member of a guardrail system shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force applied in any downward or horizontal direction at any point along its top edge of at least 100 pounds (445 n) for guardrail systems installed on single-point adjustable suspension scaffolds or two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds, and at least 200 pounds (890 n) for guardrail systems installed on all other scaffolds.
When the loads specified in paragraph (g)(4)(vii) of this section are applied in a downward direction, the top edge shall not drop below the height above the platform surface that is prescribed in paragraph (g)(4)(ii) of this section.
Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, solid panels, and equivalent structural members of a guardrail system shall be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force applied in any downward or horizontal direction at any point along the midrail or other member of at least 75 pounds (333 n) for guardrail systems with a minimum 100 pound toprail capacity, and at least 150 pounds (666 n) for guardrail systems with a minimum 200 pound toprail capacity.
Manila or plastic (or other synthetic) rope being used for toprails or midrails shall be inspected by a competent person as frequently as necessary to ensure that it continues to meet the strength requirements of paragraph (g) of this section.
Crossbracing is acceptable in place of a midrail when the crossing point of two braces is between 20 inches (0.5 m) and 30 inches (0.8 m) above the work platform or as a toprail when the crossing point of two braces is between 38 inches (0.97 m) and 48 inches (1.3 m) above the work platform. The end points at each upright shall be no more than 48 inches (1.3 m) apart.
In addition to wearing hardhats each employee on a scaffold shall be provided with additional protection from falling hand tools, debris, and other small objects through the installation of toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems, or through the erection of debris nets, catch platforms, or canopy structures that contain or deflect the falling objects. When the falling objects are too large, heavy or massive to be contained or deflected by any of the above-listed measures, the employer shall place such potential falling objects away from the edge of the surface from which they could fall and shall secure those materials as necessary to prevent their falling.
The area below the scaffold to which objects can fall shall be barricaded, and employees shall not be permitted to enter the hazard area; or
Canopies shall be installed between the falling object hazard and the employees.
At least three and one-half inches (9 cm) high from the top edge of the toeboard to the level of the walking/working surface. Toeboards shall be securely fastened in place at the outermost edge of the platform and have not more than 1/4 inch (0.7 cm) clearance above the walking/working surface. Toeboards shall be solid or with openings not over one inch (2.5 cm) in the greatest dimension.