Serious Injury or death can result from failure to familiarize and comply with safety regulations and guidelines before erecting, using or dismantling scaffolding. Scaffolding must be erected, moved or dismantled only under the supervision of a competent person.
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The Role of the Competent Person
The competent person must have the ability to identify existing and predictable hazards and have the authority to make necessary corrections; including stopping the job, until such corrections are made. OSHA requires that the competent person be capable of making decisions on issues regarding fall protection, scaffolding integrity and safe accesses to the scaffolding.
The competent person must be familiar with the manufacture specifications and instructions for the safe use of scaffolding. Usually the competent person will be someone with combination on-the-job experience and numerous training credits.
What to Check Prior Erection of Scaffolding (both mobile and fixed)
The job site should be inspected for ground conditions, strength of the supporting building, proximity to power lines (minimum distance of 10 feet must be maintained between energized power lines and the scaffolding) and overhead obstructions.
Wind conditions and weather protection covering are also important considerations. Frame spacing and mudsill size can only be determined after calculating the total loads to be imposed on the scaffolding and the strength of the structure. The load carrying capacity information for scaffolding components is available from the manufacturer.
Stationary or fixed scaffolding over 125 feet in height and movable or rolling scaffolding over 60 feet in height must be designed by a professional engineer. Before erecting scaffolding all equipment must be inspected to make sure that they are in good condition and are serviceable.
Damaged or deteriorated equipment should not be used. Wood planks used for scaffolding must be specifically approved and marked by an approved grading agency.
Erection Fixed Scaffolding
Everyone who is erecting moving or dismantling or using scaffolding must wear hardhats. Special care must be taken when erecting scaffolding on soft, frozen or filled ground. Sills must be level and in full contact with the supporting surface.
Base plates and screw jacks with base plates must be in firm contact with both sills and the legs of the scaffolding. Only screw jack must be used to compensate for uneven ground. Unstable objects like wooden blocks, bricks or stones must not be used.
Erection of Rolling or Mobile Scaffolding
The height of the tower must not exceed four times the base width. Out riggers may be used on both sides of the tower to increase the base width when necessary. All casters must be secured to the frame or screw jacks with nuts and bolts or other secure means.
The weight including the load of the tower must not exceed the capacity of the casters. Casters must be locked unless the scaffold is being moved. All frames of the tower must be cross-braced.