Scaffolds & Ladders – Safety At Construction

Scaffolds and ladders


1.      Where work cannot safely be done on or from the ground or from part of a building or other permanent structure, a safe and suitable scaffold should be provided and maintained or other equally safe and suitable provision should be made.

2.      Scaffolds should be provided with safe means of access, such as stairs, ladders or ramps. Ladders should be secured against inadvertent movement.

3.      All scaffolds and ladders should be constructed, erected and used in accordance with national laws and regulations.

4.      Every scaffold should be properly designed, constructed, erected and maintained so as to prevent collapse or accidental displacement when properly used.

5.      Every scaffold and part thereof should be:

§  designed so as to prevent hazards for workers during erection and dismantling;

§  designed so that guard rails and other protective devices, platforms, putlogs, rakers, transoms, ladders, stairs or ramps can be easily put together;

§  of suitable and sound material and of adequate size and strength for the purpose for which it is to be used and maintained in a proper condition.

6.      The competent authority should establish and enforce laws, regulations or standards covering detailed technical provisions for the design, construction, erection, use, maintenance, dismantling and inspection of the different kinds of scaffolds and ladders used in construction work.


1.      Sufficient suitable and sound material should be provided and used in the construction of scaffolds.

2.      Timber used in the construction of scaffolds should be straight-grained, sound, and free from large knots, dry rot, worm holes and other defects likely to affect its strength.

3.      No rope which is defective whether through contact with acids or other corrosive substances or otherwise should be used on scaffolds.

4.      Where necessary, boards and planks used for scaffolds should be protected against splitting.

5.      Ladders, boards and planks used in scaffolds should not be painted so that any defects are visible.

6.      Materials used in the construction of scaffolds should be stored under good conditions and apart from any material unsuitable for scaffolds.

7.      Fastenings on wooden scaffolds should conform with the national laws and regulations or be approved by the competent authority.

8.      All tubes, couplers and fittings used in metal tubular scaffolding should be of a standard and type approved by the competent authority. All couplers and fittings should be free from damage and distortion, and should be maintained in an oiled condition.

9.      Couplers should not cause deformation in tubes. Couplers should be made of drop forged steel or equivalent material.

10.  Tubes should be free from cracks, splits and excessive corrosion and be straight to the eye, and tube ends cut cleanly square with the tube axis.

11.  Alloy and steel tubing should not be intermixed on the same scaffold.


1.      Scaffolds should be designed for their maximum load and with a safety factor of at least 4, or as prescribed by the competent authority.

2.      Scaffolds should be adequately braced.

3.      Scaffolds which are not designed to be independent should be rigidly connected to the building at suitable vertical and horizontal distances.

4.      A scaffold should never extend above the highest anchorage to an extent which might endanger its stability and strength.

5.      Sufficient putlogs and transoms should remain in position and securely fastened to the ledgers, uprights or standards, as the case may be, to ensure the stability of the scaffold until it is finally dismantled.

6.      All scaffolds and appliances used as supports for working platforms should be of sound construction, have a firm footing, and be adequately strutted and braced to maintain their stability.

7.      Loose bricks, drainpipes, chimney-pots or other unsuitable material should not be used for the construction or support of any part of a scaffold.

8.      When necessary to prevent danger from falling objects, working platforms, gangways and stairways of scaffolds should be provided with overhead screens of adequate strength and dimensions.

9.      Nails should be driven full length, and not driven part way and then bent over, and should not be subject to direct pull.

10.  Scaffolding materials should not be thrown from scaffolds or from heights.

11.  Other materials should only be thrown from scaffolds or heights where the landing area has been designated, protected, appropriate notices displayed, and is under the supervision of a person on the landing level.

12.  Metal scaffolds should not be erected in closer proximity than 5 m to overhead electricity transmission lines equipment except in accordance with safety distances laid down by the competent authority or after the electrical transmission line or equipment has been rendered electrically dead.

13.  As far as practicable, every part of a working platform, gangway or stairway of a scaffold from which a person is liable to fall a distance of 2 m or as prescribed in the national laws or regulations should be provided with guard-rails and toe-boards complying with the relevant national standards.

14.  Platforms on scaffolds should be of adequate dimension, especially in width, for the tasks performed from the scaffold.


1.      Scaffolds as prescribed by national laws or regulations should be inspected, and the results recorded by a competent person:

§  Before being taken into use;

§  At periodic intervals thereafter as prescribed for different types of scaffolds;

§  After any alteration, interruption in use, exposure to weather or seismic conditions or any other occurrence likely to have affected their strength or stability.

2.      Inspection by the competent person should more particularly ascertain that:

§  The scaffold is of suitable type and adequate for the job;

§  Materials used in its construction are sound and of sufficient strength;

§  It is of sound construction and stable;

§  That the required safeguards are in position.

3.      A scaffold should not be erected, substantially altered or dismantled except by or under the supervision of a competent person.

4.      Every scaffold should be maintained in good and proper condition, and every part should be kept fixed or secured so that no part can be displaced in consequence of normal use.

5.      No scaffold should be partly dismantled and left so that it is capable of being used, unless it continues to be safe for use.


1.      When a lifting appliance is to be used on a scaffold:

§  The parts of the scaffold should be carefully inspected by a competent person to determine the additional strengthening and other safety measures required;

§  Any movement of the putlogs should be prevented;

§  If practicable, the uprights should be rigidly connected to a solid part of the building at the place where the lifting appliance is erected.


2.      In the case of prefabricated scaffold systems the instructions provided by the manufacturers or suppliers should be strictly adhered to. Prefabricated scaffolds should have adequate arrangements for fixing bracing.

3.      Frames of different types should not be intermingled in a single scaffold.


1.      The employer should provide competent supervision to ensure that all scaffolds are used appropriately and only for the purpose for which they are designed or erected. In transferring heavy loads on or to a scaffold a sudden shock should not be transmitted to the scaffold.

2.      When necessary to prevent danger, loads being hoisted on or to scaffolds should be controlled, e.g. by a hand rope (tag line), so that they cannot strike against the scaffold.

3.      The load on the scaffold should be evenly distributed, as far as practicable, and in any case should be so distributed as to avoid disturbance of the stability of the scaffold.

4.      During the use of a scaffold care should constantly be taken that it is not overloaded or otherwise misused.

5.      Scaffolds should not be used for the storage of material except that required for immediate use.

6.      Workers should not be employed on external scaffolds in weather conditions that threaten their safety.


In addition to the requirements for scaffolds in general as regards soundness, stability and protection against the risk of falls, suspended scaffolds should meet the following specific requirements in so far as such requirements are applicable:

§  Platforms should be designed and built with dimensions that are compatible with the stability of the structure as a whole, especially the length;

§  The number of anchorages should be compatible with the dimensions of the platform;

§  The safety of workers should be safeguarded by an extra rope having a point of attachment independent of the anchorage arrangements of the scaffold;

§  The anchorages and other elements of support of the scaffold should be designed and built in such a way as to ensure sufficient strength;

§  the ropes, winches, pulleys or pulley blocks should be designed, assembled, used and maintained according to the requirements established for lifting gear adapted to the lifting of persons according to national laws and regulations;

§  Before use, the whole structure should be checked by a competent person.

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