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F104
A Guide to Safe Scaffolding

D. Allen Hughes, PE

Scaffolding has a variety of applications in construction, alteration, routine maintenance and renovation. Scaffolding offers a safer and more comfortable work arrangement compared to leaning over edges, stretching overhead and working from ladders. Suitable and sufficient scaffolding must be supplied for work at elevations that are unsafe for access by other means. Properly erected and maintained, scaffolding provides workers safe access to work locations, level and stable working platforms, and temporary storage for tools and materials for performing immediate tasks.

Accidents involving scaffolding mainly involve people falling, incorrect operating procedures, environmental conditions and falling materials caused by equipment failure. Other causes of scaffolding accidents include failures at attachment points, parts failure, inadequate fall protection, improper construction or work rules, and changing environmental conditions (high winds, temperature extremes or the presence of toxic gases). Additionally, overloading of scaffolding is a frequent cause of major scaffold failure.

Individuals exposed to scaffolding hazards include scaffold erectors and dismantlers, personnel working on scaffolds, and employees and the general public near scaffolding. Scaffold erectors and dismantlers are at particular risk, since they work on scaffolds before ladders, guardrails, platforms and planks are completely installed.

This guide IS NOT INTENDED to be a guideline for compliance with all pertinent regulations enforced by OSHA, but rather an overview of safe practices in scaffolding procedures. If an area of this course is considered by the reader to be inconsistent with OSHA or other standards, the applicable standard should be followed.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.


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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.

AIA Members: You must take the courses listed under the category "AIA/CES Registered Courses" if you want us to report your Learning Units (LUs) to AIA/CES. If you take courses not registered with AIA/CES, you need to report the earned Learning Units (not qualified for HSW credits) using Self Report Form provided by AIA/CES.

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