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When employees must conduct construction work above the ground and away from solid platforms, scaffolds may be appropriate. The following list provides guidelines for using small scaffolds. Larger scaffolds must be designed and erected in accordance with applicable standards.

Scaffolds and their components should be capable of supporting at least four times their maximum load.

  • Ensure that scaffold anchors are sound, rigid, and capable of supporting the maximum intended load without shifting.
  • For freestanding, mobile scaffolds, the height should not exceed four times the minimum base dimension. If workers are riding the scaffolding, however, the base dimension should be at least one half the height.
  • Do not use unstable objects such as barrels, boxes, bricks, or blocks to support scaffolds or planks.
  • Keep floors free of debris where mobile scaffolds are used.
  • Lock scaffolds with wheels into position.
  • Install guardrails, midrails, or toe boards on the open sides and ends of platforms that are more than 4 feet above the ground or floor level. Use lifelines for scaffolds that are more than 10 feet off the ground.
  • Either overlap multiple planking and platforms by 12 inches or secure them to ensure stability.

Planks must extend over end supports between 6 and 18 inches.

  • Secure scaffolds to permanent structures with anchor bolts or other means.
  • Do not load scaffolds in excess of their maximum load limits.
  • Repair damaged scaffolds immediately.
  • Do not work on scaffolds in high winds or during storms.
  • Remove ice or snow from scaffolds and apply sand to the wood before conducting work in winter weather.
  • Do not allow tools, equipment, or other debris to accumulate on scaffolds.
  • Dismantle and remove scaffolds when they are no longer needed.
  • Do not use temporary scaffolding as a permanent installation.






May 2011
Reviewed November 2014