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Scaffolding-Part 1

October 2003
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-101
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Self-Inspection Checklist

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Guidelines

This checklist covers regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under subpart L of the construction standards 29 CFR 1926.451. It applies to temporary scaffolding at worksites associated with construction, alteration, demolition, or repair work including painting and decorating. It covers general requirements regarding capacity, scaffold platform construction, criteria for supported scaffolds, and access. The checklist does not address criteria for suspension scaffolds, suspension ropes, and stairtowers. Please consult the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926.451 for these types of scaffold situations. The regulations cited apply only to private employers and their employees, unless adopted by a State agency and applied to other groups such as public employees. A yes answer to a question indicates that this portion of the inspection complies with the OSHA or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard, or with a nonregulatory recommendation. This checklist should be used with the Scaffolding-Part 2 checklist. Subpart L of the OSHA construction standards includes appendixes that provide useful information on scaffold specifications. Definitions of terms in bold type are provided at the end of the checklist.

  1. Construction

  2. Does each scaffold and scaffold component support (without failure) its own weight and at least 4 times the maximum intended load? [29 CFR 1926.451(a)(1)]

    Note: The stall load of any scaffold hoist must not exceed 3 times its rated load [29 CFR 1926.451(a)(5)]. Appendix A of the OSHA regulations gives directions for constructing scaffolds.

  3. Are all working levels on scaffolds fully planked or decked between the front uprights and the guardrail supports? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(1)]
  4. Are scaffold platform spaces 1inch or less between adjacent units and the uprights? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(1)(i)]

    Note: Spaces up to 9 1/2 inches wide are permitted around uprights. If platforms are used only as walkways or during erecting or dismantling, the employer may establish the space between planking as necessary to provide safe working conditions.

  5. Are all scaffold platforms at least 18 inches wide? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(2)]

    Note: Scaffold platforms less than 18 inches wide are permitted if wider platforms are not possible. However, students and employees who use these platforms must be protected by guardrails or personal fall arrest systems.

  6. Is the distance between the front edge of the scaffold platform and the face of the work 14 inches or less, unless guardrail systems are put along the front edge, or personal fall arrest systems are used? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(3)]

    Note: Exceptions are permitted under special situations. Consult the OSHA regulations for details. The maximum distance from the face for plastering and lathing operations is 18 inches.

  7. Does the end of each scaffold platform extend over the centerline of its support at least 6 inches unless cleated or otherwise restrained by hooks or equivalent means? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(4)]
  8. If the scaffold platform is 10 feet or less in length, does the end of the scaffold platform extend 12 inches or less over its support? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(5)(i)]

    Note: The end of the scaffold platform may extend more than 12 inches over its support if the platform is designed and installed so that the cantilevered portion of the platform can support workers or materials without tipping, or a guardrail blocks worker access to the cantilevered end.

  9. On scaffolds where planks are abutted to form a long platform, does each plank end rest on a separate support surface? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(6)]

    Note: Common support members, such as "T" sections, may be used to support abutting planks. Hook-on platforms designed to rest on common supports may also be used.

  10. On scaffolds where platforms overlap to form a long platform, does the overlap occur over supports? Is the overlap at least 12 inches unless the platform is nailed together or otherwise restrained to prevent movement? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(7)]
  11. At points of a scaffold where the platform changes direction, is this procedure followed? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(8)]

    Step 1: Lay the platform that rests on a bearer at an angle other than a right angle.

    Step 2: Lay the platform that rests at right angles over the same bearer, on top of the first platform.

  12. Is it prohibited to cover wood platforms on scaffolds with opaque finishes? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(9)]

    Note: Platform edges may be covered or marked for identification. Wood 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.

  13. Do scaffold components from different manufacturers fit together without force and maintain the scaffold's structural integrity? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(10)]
  14. Are scaffold components from different manufacturers modified ONLY if a competent person determines that the scaffold made of the 'mixed' parts is structurally sound? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(10)]
  15. Are scaffold components made of dissimilar metals used together ONLY if a competent person has determined that galvanic action will not reduce the strength of any component to an unacceptable level? [29 CFR 1926.451(b)(11)]

    Criteria for Supported Scaffolds

  16. Are supported scaffolds with a height to base width ratio of more than 4 to 1 restrained from tipping by guying, tying, bracing, or equivalents? [29 CFR 1926.451(c)(1)]

    Note: Install guys, ties, and braces at locations where horizontal members support both inner and outer legs. Install Guys, ties, and braces according to the scaffold manufacturer's recommendations or at the closest horizontal member to the 4 to 1 height. Repeat vertically at locations of horizontal members every 20 feet or less thereafter for scaffolds 3 feet wide or less, and every 26 feet or less thereafter for scaffolds greater than 3 feet wide. Place the top guy, tie, or brace of completed scaffolds no further than the 4 to 1 height from the top. Install guys, ties, and braces at each end of the scaffold and at horizontal intervals 30 feet or less (measured from one end [not both] towards the other). Use ties, guys, braces, or outriggers to prevent tipping when there is an eccentric load, such as a cantilevered work platform.

  17. Are supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights placed on base plates and mud sills or other firm foundation? [29 CFR 1926.451(c)(2)]
  18. Are footings level, sound, and rigid? Can they support the loaded scaffold without settling or displacement? [29 CFR 1926.451(c)(2)(i)]
  19. Is it prohibited to use unstable objects for supporting scaffolds and platform units? [29 CFR 1926.451(c)(2)(ii)]
  20. Is it prohibited to use unstable objects as working platforms? [29 CFR 1926.451(c)(2)(iii)]
  21. Is it prohibited to use front-end loaders and similar pieces of equipment to support scaffold platforms, unless they were designed by the manufacturer for such use? [29 CFR 1926.451(c)(2)(iv)]
  22. Are supported scaffold poles, legs, posts, frames, and uprights plum and braced to prevent swaying and displacement? [29 CFR 1926.451(c)(3)]

    Access

  23. Are ladders, stairs, ramps, or walkways provided to access scaffold platforms more than 2 feet above or below a point of access? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(1)]

    Note: Cross-braces must not be used as a means of access.

  24. Are portable, hook-on, and attachable ladders positioned to prevent the scaffold from tipping? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(2)(i)]
  25. Are hook-on and attachable ladders positioned so the bottom rung is not more than 24 inches above the scaffold supporting level? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(2)(ii)]
  26. Are hook-on and attachable ladders designed for the scaffold in use? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(2)(iv)]
  27. Do hook-on and attachable ladders have rung length of at least 11 1/2 inches? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(2)(v)]
  28. Do hook-on and attachable ladders have uniformly spaced rungs with a maximum spacing between rungs of 16-3/4 inches? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(2)(vi)]
  29. Is the bottom step of stairway-type ladders 24 inches or less above the scaffold supporting level? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(3)(i)]
  30. Do stairway-type ladders have rest platforms at 12-foot maximum vertical intervals? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(3)(ii)]
  31. Do stairway-type ladders have a step width of at least 16 inches? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(3)(iii)]

    Note: Mobile scaffold stairway-type ladders may have a minimum step width of 11 1/2 inches.

  32. Do stairway-type ladders have slip-resistant treads on all steps and landings? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(3)(iv)]
  33. Do ramps and walkways 6 feet or more above lower levels have guardrails? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(5)(i)]
  34. Are ramps and walkways inclined with a slope less than 1 vertical to 3 horizontal 20 degrees above the horizontal? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(5)(ii)]
  35. Do ramps and walkways that are steeper than 1 vertical in 8 horizontal have cleats 14 inches (or less) apart that are securely fastened to the planks to provide footing? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(5)(iii)]
  36. Are integral prefabricated scaffold access frames constructed for use as ladder rungs? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(6)(i)]
  37. Do integral prefabricated scaffold access frames have rung lengths of at least 8 inches? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(6)(ii)]
  38. Do students and employees have fall protection if integral prefabricated scaffold access frames with rungs less than 11 1/2 inches are used as work platforms? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(6)(iii)]
  39. Are integral prefabricated scaffold access frames uniformly spaced within each frame section? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(6)(iv)]
  40. Do integral prefabricated scaffold access frames have a maximum spacing between rungs of 16-3/4 inches? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(6)(v)]

    Note: Non-uniform rung spacing caused by joining end frames together is allowed, provide the resulting spacing is 16-3/4 inches or less.

  41. Do steps and rungs of ladder and stairway-type access line up vertically with each other between rest platforms? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(7)]
  42. Is the horizontal distance 14 inches (or less) and the vertical distance 24 inches (or less) between two surfaces used to provide direct access between them? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(8)]
  43. During erecting and dismantling of supported scaffolds, does a competent person provide and evaluate safe means of access? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(9)(i)]
  44. During erecting and dismantling of supported scaffolds, are hook-on or attachable ladders installed as soon as they can be used safely? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(9)(ii)]
  45. During erecting and dismantling of supported scaffolds, are the ends of tubular welded frame scaffolds used as climbing devices for access only if the horizontal members are parallel, level, and 22 inches apart (or less) vertically? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(9)(iii)]
  46. During erecting and dismantling of supported scaffolds, is it prohibited to use the cross braces on tubular welded frame scaffolds for access or exit? [29 CFR 1926.451(e)(9)(iv)]

    Use

  47. Are scaffolds and scaffold components loaded below their maximum intended loads or rated capacities (whichever is less)? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(1)]
  48. Is the use of shore or lean-to scaffolds prohibited? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(2)]
  49. Does a competent person inspect scaffolds and scaffold components for visible defects before each work shift, and after any occurrence that could affect a scaffold's structural integrity? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(3)]
  50. Are parts of a scaffold that are damaged or weakened immediately repaired, replaced, braced, or removed from service until repaired? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(4)]
  51. Is the horizontal movement of a scaffold prohibited while workers are on the scaffold (unless the scaffold is designed for movement by a registered professional engineer, or is a mobile scaffold meeting OSHA standards)? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(5)]
  52. Are proper clearances (as shown in Tables 1 and 2) between scaffolds and power lines always maintained? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(6)]

    Note: Scaffolds and materials may be closer to power lines if such clearance is necessary, and only after the utility company or electrical system operator has been notified, and the utility company or electrical system operator has deenergized the lines, relocated the lines, or installed protective coverings to prevent contact with the lines.

    Table 1: Insulated Power Lines

    Insulated Line VoltageMinimum DistanceAlternative
    Less than 300 volts3 feet (0.9 m)
    300 volts to 50 kv10 feet (3.1 m)
    More than 50 kv10 feet (3.1 m) plus 4.0 inches (10 cm) for each 1 kv over 50 kv2 times the length of the line insulator, but never less than 10 feet (3.1m)

    Table 2: Uninsulated Power Lines

    Uninsulated Line VoltageMinimum DistanceAlternative
    Less than 50 kv10 feet (3.1 m)
    More than 50 kv10 feet (3.1 m) plus 4.0 inches (10 cm) for each 1 kv over 50 kv2 times the length of the line insulator, but never less than 10 feet (3.1m)

  53. Are scaffolds erected, moved, dismantled, or altered only under the supervision and direction of a competent person qualified in scaffold erection, moving, dismantling, or alteration? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(7)]
  54. Are scaffolds erected, moved, dismantled, or altered only by experienced and trained employees selected for such work by the competent person? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(7)]
  55. Is it prohibited to work on scaffolds covered with snow, ice, or other slippery material, except as necessary to remove such materials? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(8)]
  56. If swinging loads are hoisted onto or near scaffolds, are tag lines or equivalent measures used to control the loads? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(9)]
  57. Is working on scaffolds during storms or high winds prohibited unless a competent person has determined that it is safe for workers to be on the scaffold and workers are protected by a personal fall arrest system or wind screens? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(12)]
  58. Is debris removed from platforms? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(13)]
  59. Are makeshift devices, such as boxes and barrels, prohibited on scaffold platforms for increasing the working level height? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(14)]
  60. Is it prohibited to use ladders on scaffolds to increase the working level height? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(15)]

    Note: Ladders may be used on large area scaffolds if certain conditions are met. Consult the OSHA regulations for the required conditions.

  61. Are scaffold platforms used only if they deflect 1/60 of the span (or less) when loaded? [29 CFR 1926.451(f)(16)]

Definitions

Competent person: one who can identify hazards in the surroundings or working conditions that are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to workers, and who has authority to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Lean-to scaffold: a supported scaffold that is kept erect by tilting it toward and resting it against a building or structure.

Personal fall arrest system: a system used to stop an employee's fall. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, a body belt or body harness, and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or combinations of these.

Shore scaffold: a supported scaffold that is placed against a building or structure and held in place with props.

Supported scaffold: one or more platforms supported by outrigger beams, brackets, poles, legs, uprights, posts, frames, or similar rigid support.

 
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  • Page last updated: June 6, 2014
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