Scaffold safety requirements on construction sites

Massachusetts construction sites typically have workers from several different companies going about their duties simultaneously. This can result in miscommunication regarding safety expectations and processes. Although organizations have a duty to take steps that prevent worker injuries, such as providing PPE and fall protection, accidents still happen.

According to OSHA, in 2019, construction site falls were among the leading cause of death in private injury fatalities. Sites that meet safety requirements may minimize the risk to employees and contractors.

Qualified and competent personnel

A person deemed qualified has specific knowledge and possibly certification within the industry. He has the expertise to design the scaffolding necessary for a particular project. His skills should extend to the rigging and other components needed to meet safety specifications.

A competent person directs the construction, disassembly and relocation of scaffolds. He also handles training, the inspection of the components at the end of each shift and identifies unsafe conditions. This person must have the authority to correct any issues, including stopping work to do so.

Suspended or supported scaffolds

The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards has specific maximum load and component requirements for scaffolds. For example, the ropes on suspended scaffolds must support six times the intended load. Counterweight requirements include the capability to resist four times the tipping moment. Supported scaffolds have specifications regarding the deck, platform and type of planks used. Guardrails and toeboards must be on all systems that are two frames or 10 feet above the ground.

On-site personnel with the proper hazard recognition and safety equipment training can help minimize accidents. If a fall was a consequence of faulty or inadequate scaffolds, workers may pursue workers’ compensation and third-party liability claims.


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