The Basics of Scaffold Safety (Part 3)

Fall related issues with scaffolding

Falls from scaffolding can occur in one of several ways:

  1. While getting on or off of the scaffold
  2. While installing and putting up the scaffold
  3. While working on the scaffold

OSHA mandates that whenever a worker is more than 10 feet off the ground on a scaffold he must be protected from falls either with a Personal Fall Arrest System (PFAS) or with guardrails.

Personal Fall Arrest Systems is covered in a separate document (see the fall protection section of our website to download “The Basics of Fall Protection“) so we will focus on the guardrail part of the mandate.

OSHA requires the following for scaffolding guardrails:

  1. Guardrails must be installed on all platforms that are less than 18″ wide.
  2. Guardrails must be installed along the side of the exposed edge as well as on the ends of the working platform.
  3. Guardrails must be 38″ – 45″ in height.
  4. There must be a midrail between the top of the guardrail and the platform.
  5. Toeboards must be at least 3 ½ ” tall