Scaffolding Inspection: How to Do It & Why It’s Important

Scaffolding Inspection

Equipment for work at height needs regular inspection to ensure that it is fit for use. A marking system is probably required to show when the next inspection is due. Formal inspections should not substitute for pre-use checks or routine maintenance. An inspection does not necessarily cover the checks made during maintenance, although some standard features may be. Inspections need to be recorded, but checks do not.

Under the Work at Height Regulations, weekly inspections are still required for scaffolding used in construction, as required by the CDM Regulations, where a person could fall 2 m or more. The requirements for inspection are set out in the Regulations as follows:

  • The name and address of the person for whom the inspection was carried out; 
  • The location of the work equipment inspected; 
  • A description of the work equipment inspected; 
  • The date and time of the inspection; 
  • Details of any matter identified that could give rise to a risk to the health or safety of any person; 
  • Details of any action taken as a result of any matter identified above; 
  • Details of any further action considered necessary; 
  • The name and position of the person making the report.

All scaffolding inspections should be carried out by a competent person whose knowledge, training, and experience are appropriate for the type and complexity of the particular scaffold. Competence may have been assessed under the Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS), or an individual may be suitably experienced in scaffolding work and have received additional training under a recognized manufacturer/supplier scheme for the specific configuration being inspected.

A non-scaffolder, such as a site manager, who has attended a suitable scaffold inspection course and has the necessary background experience would be considered competent to inspect a basic scaffold. There is no legal requirement to use scafftags, but using a visual tag system to supplement inspection records is one way of recording that the scaffold has been checked before use.

OSHA Scaffolding Inspection Requirements

From 2013 to 2015, scaffolding citations have been some of the most frequent violations recorded during OSHA inspections. Each year there are thousands of scaffold-related violations, ranging from uninspected scaffold installations to overloading scaffolding beyond the maximum weight capacity.

While posting OSHA-compliant scaffold safety signs can alert workers to the potential danger of unfinished scaffolds and their safe use, scaffolding still needs to be inspected periodically as required by OSHA.

OSHA sets many requirements to ensure a thorough inspection. OSHA’s Inspection Procedures for Enforcing Subpart L, Scaffolds Used in Construction – 29 CFR 1926.450-454 establishes the methods for scaffold inspections.

OSHA inspections are prioritized based on risk assessment. The greater the potential danger to a worker, the higher priority an inspection is to OSHA. For example, if someone were to report scaffolding supported by loose bricks or cement blocks, or if workers were found on scaffolds during a storm or windy conditions, OSHA would inspect that worksite as a high priority.

Under OSHA standards, all scaffold parts, including fittings, beams, ropes, and frames, shall be periodically inspected before scaffold use. Scaffolding inspection requirements for periodic inspection must be carried out by a competent person who can identify hazards and has the authority to take prompt corrective measures to remove or avoid a hazard.

Copies of scaffold specifications and drawings by engineers must be available to employers and inspectors.

Other scaffolding inspection requirements include providing fall protection equipment to building scaffolding workers or taking it apart. For all of the standards and scaffolding inspection requirements, visit

How to Inspect Scaffolding

To ensure the safety of everyone involved, scaffolds must be inspected by someone with a deep understanding and experience in working within these types of hazardous environments. This individual should receive proper training before being assigned such an important task; if there is ever any found issue during inspection – like improperly secured harnesses or poor access ladders– this person has authority over demand that all necessary corrective measures be taken immediately.

Building the Scaffold

The scaffold is at risk when it isn’t built with care. The design for a professional and safe work platform must come directly from an engineer who goes beyond what’s outlined by OSHA, so you can be sure that any project will have all the proper equipment needed to avoid accidents or injuries.

Hazards Around the Scaffold

When performing a scaffold inspection, it’s essential to ensure that all power lines near the worksite are de-energized. There should be no active tools or materials within 10 feet of where you’re working on top of wood planks with nails sticking up into whatever surface they’ll eventually go into (dimension). It would also not hurt if someone took care beforehand by pulling down any ladders used as well!

When working on a ladder, it must be securely attached to the scaffold, and any ladder should extend at least 3 feet off its platform. It’s also important not to forget overhead threats like harsh rain or winds that could cause someone to slip hazardously close by; these spills need cleaning immediately to avoid injury!

Structural Concerns

Scaffolds are essential for many construction projects, but it is crucial to ensure they can hold the weight of whatever you plan to build. Scaffold support structures should never be overloaded or removed without replacement because this could result in a safety hazard if something happens while using them as they collapse. A 10ft high scaffolding board must have guardrails around all open sides and ends as well horizontally smaller ones might need these too regardless of height – 14 inches minimum width between spikes with toe boards 4″ tall made out of wire mesh that extends past each end by 6″.

Inspecting ropes before each shift is crucial to ensuring a safe work environment. Suppose there are any defects or weaknesses in the cords. In that case, they could cause an accident with tremendous consequences for those involved- not only would it be impossible but also unfair if someone died because management failed adequately inspect their equipment! Make sure you regularly check so that nothing goes wrong while doing repairs on scaffolds
A simple thing such as checking whether posts/frames are secured by baseplates and mudsills every day can prevent many injuries from occurring.

The proper way to measure a plank is from the centerline of the support structure up and over each end. Planks must never have deep splits or warp greater than .25 inches; large loose knots and molding grain slope found on planks means it’s no longer fit for use! If you find 10-foot long boards, they should be 6 – 12 in wide with 18-inch maximum dimensions at either end when measured along the middle line.)


Scaffolds must be tagged to indicate how safe they are after each inspection. Green tags mean the structure is entirely secure for use. In contrast, yellow ones represent an insecure or formerly unsafe scaffold that poses a threat but can still allow work on them as long you know its condition and take precautions accordingly.

The importance of a red tag cannot be stressed higher—red-tagged scaffolds are no longer fit for use and should be immediately discarded!

Regular Inspection: Compliance and Injury Prevention

While inspecting scaffolding is a regular part of business practice, it’s also essential to meeting safety codes and OSHA standards. For your employees’ protection and their own (and those around them), follow these tips to ensure you stay up-to-date with all necessary measures!

Most Common Hazards Associated With Using Scaffolds

Several potential hazards are associated with using scaffolding, and it is essential to be aware of these before using this equipment. The most common hazards include:

  • Falling from height is one of the most severe risks associated with scaffolding, as falls can easily result in serious injuries or even death. It is essential to always use proper safety precautions when working on scaffolding, such as wearing a harness and ensuring that the structure is stable and secure.
  • Collapse: Another severe hazard associated with scaffolding is the risk of collapse. This can occur if the scaffolding is not properly constructed or secured, leading to severe injuries or even death. Again, it is essential to always follow safety guidelines when using scaffolding to avoid this type of accident.
  • Electrocution: Another hazard associated with scaffolding is the risk of electrocution if the structure comes into contact with power lines. This is a real danger and can easily lead to severe injury or death. It is essential to always be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to avoid coming into contact with power lines.
  • Falling objects: Another hazard associated with scaffolding is the risk of falling objects. This can occur if tools or other materials are not properly secured, leading to severe injuries. It is essential to always be aware of what is above you when working on scaffolding and to take precautions to protect yourself from falling objects.

By being aware of these potential hazards, you can help to keep yourself safe while using scaffolding. Always follow safety guidelines and take precautions to avoid accidents, and you will help to reduce the risks associated with this type of equipment.

About John Mathew

My name is John Mathew, and I am a safety advisor with over 8 years of experience in the field. Currently, I work at Bechtel USA, where I provide guidance and expertise to ensure the safety of all workers on site. Throughout my career, I have developed a passion for safety and am committed to creating a safe working environment for everyone. I am knowledgeable about all relevant safety regulations and standards, and I strive to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

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