In 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005 OSHA issued more violations for scaffolding than any other regulation. However, they are not the only cost associated with scaffolding. Each year, there are more than 4,500 injuries and 60 deaths stemming from scaffold-related incidents. An annual study conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in 2010, revealed workplace injuries cost employers more than $200 billion annually in total cost. The average injury cost more than $45,000. In order to reduce the potential for scaffolding related accident OSHA requires all employers to certify their employees on the proper operation, maintenance, hazard training and more. These training policies are proven to reduce the likelihood of injury and save employers billions. Read on for the full report on Scaffolding.

OSHA Scaffolding Requirements

To protect workers from scaffolding related injuries OSHA has adopted CFR 1910.451. In the past five years the regulation has constantly been the most cited, meaning OSHA places an emphasis on Scaffolding safety during inspections. The regulation lays out maintenance, topics required and best practices. To fulfill this order you need a documentable training program and policy. Below are several obligations of the ordinance:
  • The footing or anchorage for scaffolds shall be sound, rigid, and capable of carrying the maximum intended load without settling or displacement.
  • Employers will not use damaged scaffolding or move scaffolding while in use.
  • If workers pass under scaffolding the employer must secure an 18 gauge screen along the bottoms of the scaffolding plank sections.
  • Employers will not allow tools, materials, and debris to accumulate on the scaffolding. Wire or fiber rope used for scaffold suspension will be capable of supporting at least six times the intended load.
  • Metal tubular frame scaffolds, including accessories such as braces, brackets, trusses, screw legs, ladders, etc., shall be designed and proved to safely support four times the maximum intended load.
  • Spacing of panels or frames shall be consistent with the loads imposed.
  • Scaffolds shall be properly braced by cross bracing or diagonal braces, or both, for securing vertical members together laterally, and the cross braces shall be of such length as will automatically square and aline vertical members so that the erected scaffold is always plumb, square, and rigid. All brace connections shall be made secure.
  • Scaffold legs shall be set on adjustable bases or plain bases placed on mud sills or other foundations adequate to support the maximum intended load.
  • Guardrails not less than 2 x 4 inches or the equivalent and not less than 36 inches or more than 42 inches high, with a mid-rail, when required, of 1- x 4-inch lumber or equivalent, and toeboards, shall be installed at all open sides on all scaffolds more than 10 feet above the ground or floor. Toeboards shall be a minimum of 4 inches in height. Wire mesh shall be installed in accordance with paragraph (a)(17) of this section.
  • All tubular metal scaffolds shall be constructed and erected to support four times the maximum intended loads.
  • To prevent movement, the scaffold shall be secured to the building or structure at intervals not to exceed 30 feet horizontally and 26 feet vertically.
  • Frames and accessories for scaffolds shall be maintained in good repair and every defect, unsafe condition, or noncompliance with this section shall be immediately corrected before further use of the scaffold. Any broken, bent, excessively rusted, altered, or otherwise structurally damaged frames or accessories shall not be used.
  • Periodic inspections shall be made of all welded frames and accessories, and any maintenance, including painting, or minor corrections authorized by the manufacturer, shall be made before further use.

The Benefits of Safety Training

While the blow of a workplace injury is crippling to many companies, safety training programs are proven to drastically reduce the risk of injury and increase workplace productivity. Through independent studies OSHA has confirmed employers who have in place a safety and health training program experience a 52 percent lower rate of "injury with days away" than employers without a program. [3] A second study of private industry employers by OSHA found even more benefits to a safety training program. Here are a few highlights of those programs: Company Benefits: [4]
  • Average Sales rose 7.5 percent
  • Manufacturing defects and waste dropped from $2.7 million in 2001 to $435,000 in 2005
  • Improved decision-making
  • EMR dropped by 45%
Safety and health also make big reductions in indirect costs, due to: [4]
  • Increased productivity
  • Higher quality products
  • Increased morale
  • Better labor/management relations
  • Reduced turnover
  • Better use of human resources
The value of training is further emphasized by a study of 41 workers hospitalized for hand injuries. Through the survey of these employees conducted by members of National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) it was discovered more than half had no on the job training for the equipment that caused their injury. Workplaces that establish safety and health management systems can reduce their injury and illness costs by 20 to 40 percent, according to OSHA. Studies not only show the impact safety training has in increasing productivity and preventing injury. It shows the value training has to prevent casualties. [5] A NIOSH study of 55 confined workplace fatalities found that only three of those losing their lives ever received training on the proper workplace safety procedures. A study of the California insurance industry also revealed that every dollar invested in safety training resulted in $3 or more dollars in savings," Safety training is not a cost, it is an investment.

There is a Better Solution

By requesting and reading this report you are no doubt aware of the hazards associated with aerial and the long list of regulations your company must abide by. Meeting these regulations is a tedious process requiring you to either develop a training program yourself or to outsource with expensive safety consultants. There is a better solution. Here are a few highlights of those programs: Here at Safety Services we have developed a "Do-It-Yourself" training program that is both simple to administer and fulfills all your OSHA requirements. This innovative kit features an Interactive Training Program, Student's Handbook, Instructor's Handbook, OSHA Regulations, Student Tests, Training Logs, Fall Protection Checklist, Certificates, Wallet Cards and More. Material covered Applicable OSHA standards
  • OSHA requirements
  • Definitions
  • Capacities
  • Platform construction
  • Supported scaffold systems
  • Fall protection
  • Inspections
  • Access/egress
  • Training Requirements
  • Accident Prevention
  • And much more
Our $449.99 kit is a simple three-step solution that brings all your employees into compliance. 1. Classroom/online training The first step of our program is an intuitive electronic training session. Through the program employees navigate an electronic training program at a computer and then take an automatically graded test. If computers are not available materials are printable for a traditional classroom or onsite training seminar. 2. Field training The second part of training is in the field. During this portion of the session your appointed trainer shows the trainee the infield applications of the materials they learned in the classroom session. Safety training is not a cost, it is an investment. The third and final step to the training session is evaluation. Through this step the trainer evaluates the trainee and either signs off on certification or retouches on topics that need more work. All certification through the program meets or exceeds OSHA requirements. In addition to meeting training requirements, the kit provides instruction on how to craft your scaffolding written policy. If you are not comfortable writing your own policy we can provide the service for an additional fee. Have a question or ready to order give us a call at 1-888-840-9276.


[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Cover Page photograph by Willis Scaffolding This publication does not itself alter or determine compliance responsibilities, which are set forth in OSHA standards themselves and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Moreover, because interpretations and enforcement policy may change over time, for additional guidance on OSHA compliance requirements, the reader should consult current and administrative interpretations and decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the Courts.