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Platforms - Frame Scaffold Set Up

What should I know about the assembly of frame scaffold?

  • Make sure you are trained properly to set up scaffolding.
  • Check location for:
    • ground conditions
    • overhead wires
    • obstructions
    • changes in surface elevation
    • tie-in problems
  • Inspect frames, braces and all other components for damage, bends and excessive rust or wear.
  • Use a safety harness which is tied off to the scaffold, building or lifeline. Refer to OSH Answers Safety Belts, Harnesses and Lanyards for more information.
  • Assemble frame scaffolds with one other person so that one person is on the scaffold and one is passing materials from the ground.
  • Check for squareness and alignment of all scaffold parts.
  • Remove debris and mud from the setup area, and level the ground before placing the staging legs.
  • Setup the staging legs on a stable, solid base. Use mudsills when scaffolding is erected on soil.
  • Use appropriate mud sills 50 x 250 mm (e.g., 2 x 10 ft planks) that are continuous under at least two support feet. Where possible, the sill should extend at least 600 mm (2 ft) beyond the scaffold feet at the end.
  • Nail or screw the base plates to the mudsills.
  • Use jackscrews to eliminate hazards created by temporarily jacking up the erected scaffold to add shims when sections settle or are not level.
  • Inspect locking devices frequently.
  • Make sure all sections of the first level are level and square.
  • Install ladders as the erection proceeds. When scaffolds are to be in place for an extended period, install a stairway. Ladders must extend 1 m (3 ft) above the platform and be tied securely to the staging.
  • Fasten all braces and guardrails securely. Make sure all cross bracing fits and locks onto each post in every section.
  • Install all of the guardrails that are required: top, mid and toe. Requirements will vary depending on the materials used, and on the the legislation that applies in your area.
  • Inspect planks before use. Check the weight the planks will have to carry, including the weight of the crew, tools and materials.
  • Complete platform fully at each working level before assembling the next level.
  • Secure the scaffolding to the adjacent building structure as specified in the legislation that applies in your area.
  • Assemble all equipment according to manufacturer's specifications or engineer's design.

What should I not do when assembling scaffold?

  • Do not mix frames and parts from different manufacturers.
  • Do not use nails or other devices in the place of proper retention parts as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Do not substitute concrete blocks, bricks or scrap lumber for a proper mud sill base, plates and jackscrews.
  • Do not overextend jackscrews.
  • Do not use ladders or makeshift devices on top of scaffolds to increase the height.
  • Do not use the same planks for sills as you do for platform bases.
  • Do not rig braces that do not fit properly.
  • Do not use cross-braces as guardrails.
  • Do not use scaffold frames to climb up to work platforms.
Wooden guardrails (secured to frame)

What should I know when dismantling scaffold?

  • Make sure the structure will remain stable at all times.
  • Clear platform of all materials and debris before dismantling.
  • Proceed in the reverse order of erection.
  • Dismantle each tier completely before starting on the one below.
  • Work from full platform decks while removing braces and frames.
  • Remove jammed or rusted components with caution. Tugging or pulling on stuck parts often causes a loss of balance. Wear a safety harness and lanyard which is properly tied off.
  • Do not throw or drop boards or parts from heights.
  • Check and maintain all scaffold parts. Repair or discard all damaged pieces immediately.
  • Lubricate moving parts of all fittings.

Document last updated on November 1, 2017

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.