Scaffold No-No

Scaffold No-No

Not-So-Great Moments In Safety

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

Demo our Scaffold Safety

What’s the hazard here? What isn’t the hazard here is the better question, right? Let’s keep this simple. Each manufactured scaffold comes with load charts explaining the load bearing capacity, and based on how many frames of scaffold height, and taking into consideration if the scaffolding is erected properly.

Can we guess these scaffolds were not manufactured to hold the load of a house? Uh huh.

Is this scaffold built properly? No. It doesn’t appear all the cross bracing is in place, the scaffold is not decked, and it doesn’t appear plumb, flush, or level.

Can we make an educated guess that the wooden blocks are not scaffolds, but incompatible parts without a manufacturer’s rating that should not be in use? Yes.

How can this hazard be corrected? If you are going to suspend a house, you should contact a registered professional engineer to design a system. Or, contact the Wizard of Oz, who specializes in transporting houses from one location to another. In fact, the immediacy of that second option means it’s probably a more appropriate remedy for this unbelievably dangerous situation! 

Any laws around this? Yes, there are many parts of the OSHA scaffold law that could apply, but let’s just focus on two:

29 CFR 1926.451(a)(1)(3) Capacity—Scaffolds and scaffold components must support at least 4 times the maximum intended load. Suspension scaffold rigging must at least 6 times the intended load.

29CFR 1926.451(f)(1)- A qualified person must design the scaffolds, which are loaded in accordance with that design.

1926.451(a)(6) Scaffolds and scaffold components must not be loaded in excess of their maximum intended loads or rated capacities, whichever is less.

Conversation Starters: Try having an outlandish safety conversation, and see what bubbles up. Maybe that could lead to discovery of unsafe work practices like this. What is considered outlandish? Example: “Have you ever used a lawn mower in place of a hedge-trimmer or would you?”