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How to Reduce Common Hazards Threaten Scaffold Safety?


As the data shows in a study by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there are 72% of workers get injured in scaffold accidents due to the scaffold plank or acrow props collapse, or the workers’ slipping or being struck by a falling object.


Scaffolds play an important role in the construction industry. With proper use, scaffolds can save significant time and money. Though scaffolds are convenient and necessary, there are three major hazards that everyone needs to be aware of scaffold safety.

Major Hazards to Scaffold Safety


1. Falls

Falls are attributed to the lack of use of scaffolding safety nets, improper installation of scaffold safety nets, and failure to use personal fall arrest systems. Lack of proper access to the scaffold work platform is an additional reason for falls from scaffolds. Access in the form of a secured ladder, stair tower, ramp, etc. is required whenever there is 24” vertical change to an upper or lower level. The means of access must be determined before the erection of the scaffold and workers are never allowed to climb on cross braces for either vertical or horizontal movement.


2. Scaffold collapse

The proper erection of a scaffold is essential in preventing this particular hazard. Before erecting the scaffold, a number of factors must be taken into account. The amount of weight the scaffold will be required to hold including the weight of the scaffold itself, the materials, and workers.  Foundation stability, placement of scaffold planks, distance from the scaffold to the work surface, and tie-in requirements are just a few of the other items that must be considered prior to build a scaffold.


3. Passerby being struck by falling materials

Workers on scaffolds are not the only person exposed to scaffold related hazards. Many individuals who pass through the scaffold have been injured or killed due to being struck by materials or tools that have fallen from scaffold platforms. These people must be protected from falling objects. The first is to install toe boards or scaffold safety debris netting on or under work platforms to prevent these items from falling to the ground or lower-level work areas. The other option is to erect barricades that physically prevent passersby from walking under work platforms.


Caution or Danger tape is often used in an attempt to keep people away from overhead hazards but is often disregarded or taken down creating possible struck-by hazards. Regardless of the type of falling object protection used, it is crucial that other individuals on the worksite are aware of the overhead work.

How to Reduce Common Hazards Threaten Scaffold Safety?


1. Fall protection is required when work heights reach 10 feet or more.

2. Provide proper access to the scaffold and never allow workers to climb on cross braces for horizontal or vertical movement.

3. The scaffold supervisor must be present when building, moving, or dismantling the scaffold and must inspect it daily.

4. Erect barricades to prevent individuals from walking under work platforms and place signs to warn those close by of the possible hazards.

5. Ensure all employees working on scaffolding have had proper training.


Scaffold safety starts from the ground up. Only safe work conditions and actions will prevent unnecessary injuries when working on these ever-changing structures.

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