Q & A: Ladders, Bucket Trucks, and Scaffolding

Q & A: Ladders, Bucket Trucks, and Scaffolding

Barrett Pryce

Barrett Pryce

Marketing Manager

Barrett Pryce is the Marketing Manager with Vivid Learning Systems, an online safety training provider making life a little easier for safety professionals.


(1) “Can you stand on a two sided ladder over the top with a leg on each side?”

Answer: No. This Supervisor Safety Tip for Ladder Safety explains why.

(2) “Can a bucket truck be moved with the bucket in the cradle but a worker in the bucket, example in a parking lot moving pole to pole?”

Answer: Because of collision hazards, it isn’t the safest practice. However, OSHA says: “Never move the equipment with workers in an elevated platform unless this is permitted by the manufacturer.” And, after searching, I couldn’t find a specific OSHA statute saying the practice you describe was against policy. Here’s a Safety Tip for Aerial Lifts to learn a little more.

(3) “How high does scaffolding be before you have to have rails. Curious about a single section with a floor height of 5 feet or less?”

Answer: Under §1926.451, all employees on scaffolds more than 10 feet above the next lower level must be protected from falls. The standard requires guardrails for some specific types of scaffolds (see, for example, §1926.451(g)(1)(iv), which requires them for self-contained adjustable scaffolds; and §1926.451(g)(1)(v), which requires them for each employee on a walkway located within a scaffold). With respect to protecting employees on all other types of scaffolds, under §1926.451(g)(1)(vii), the employer can choose to use either personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems. 

Whenever guardrail systems are used, they must meet the definition of a "guardrail system" in §1926.450(b), as well as the requirements of §1926.451(g)(4). The standard's definition of a guardrail system is: "a vertical barrier, consisting of, but not limited to, Toprails, midrails, and posts, erected to prevent employees from falling off a scaffold platform or walkway to lower levels [emphasis added]." Therefore, guardrail systems must have midrails. Under Section 1926.451(g)(4), screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, solid panels and equivalent structural members may be substituted for midrails as long as they meet the requirements in (g)(4).”

20-minute online safety training for Aerial Lifts, Bucket Rescue, Ladder Safety & Ladders, Platforms, Step Bolts, and Manhole Steps 1910.269, and Scaffold Safety.