Safety Resource Library

Supported Scaffold Inspection Tips

The competent person must inspect scaffolds and scaffold parts daily, before each work shift, and after any event that may have caused damage.

  • Check to see if powerlines near scaffolds are de-energized or that the scaffolds are at least 10 feet away from energized powerlines.
  • Make sure that tools and materials are at least 10 feet away from energized powerlines.
  • Verify that the scaffold is the correct type for the loads, materials, employees, and weather conditions.
  • Check footings to see if they are level, sound, rigid, and capable of supporting the loaded scaffold.
  • Check legs, posts, frames, and uprights to see if they are on baseplates and mudsills.
  • Check metal components for bends, cracks, holes, rust, welding splatter, pits, broken welds, and non-compatible parts.
  • Check for safe access. Do not use the crossbraces as a ladder for access or exit.
  • Check wooden planks for cracks, splits greater than one-quarter (1/4) inch, end splits that are long, many large loose knots, warps greater than one-quarter (1/4) inch, boards and ends with gouges, mold, separated laminate(s), and grain sloping greater than one in 12 inches from the long edge and are scaffold grade lumber or equivalent.
  • If the planks deflect one-sixtieth (1/60) of the span or two inches in a 10-foot wooden plank, the plank has been damaged and must not be used.
  • Check to see if the planks are close together, with spaces no more than one inch around uprights.
  • Check to see if 10-foot or shorter planks are six to 12 inches over the center line of the support, and that 10-foot or longer planks are no more than 18 inches over the end.
  • Check to see if the platform is 14 inches or more away from the wall or 18 inches or less away if plaster or stucco.
  • Check for guardrails and midrails on platforms where work is being done.
  • Check for employees under the platform and provide falling object protection or barricade the area. Make sure that hard hats are worn.
  • Use braces, tie-ins and guying as described by the scaffold’s manufacturer at each end, vertically and horizontally to prevent tipping.

For more complete information visit the OSHA webpage on Supported Scaffolds.

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