Health and Safety Consultancy Services for SMEs in Birmingham, West Midlands and beyond

Top Tips for Inspecting Scaffolding
Posted by David Cant on April 5, 2009
5 Comments

How to inspect Scaffolding

A suitably trained, qualified and competent person will carry out at least weekly inspections of all scaffolds as detailed in this document in pursuance of the The working at height regulations 2005.

Scaffolding must be inspected before first use.

Here is a basic checklist for inspecting Tube and Fitting Scaffolds.

FOUNDATIONS
Inspection and findings

Walk round the scaffold and check for: subsidence of the ground, cavities underneath sole plates, dislocation of base plates.

Action to Take
Rectify with adjustable base plates. Fill with concrete. Restore in place.

STANDARDS
Inspection and Findings

Stand back in front of each standard and check for:
Plumbness and any signs of buckling in first 3-4 lifts

Action to Take
Stop using scaffold in the affected section until made good.

HORIZONTAL LACING
Inspection and Findings

Check in first 3-4 lifts the position of ledgers and transoms. First lift of extreme importance and the standards must be effectively braced in both directions at ground level.
Vertical distance between horizontal bracing in the first lift must not be greater than in subsequent lifts.

Action to Take

Replace any missing bracing

DIAGONAL BRACING
Inspection and Findings

Transverse bracing to alternative pairs of standards may be fixed either to ledgers or directly to standards.
Facade bracing to be fixed to transoms with right angle couplers and extended from the ground level.

Action to Take

As above.

(a) STANDARDS (b) LEDGERS (c) TRANSOMS (d) DIAGONAL BRACING
(e) SCAFFOLD TIES

Inspection and Findings

Make sure that the members (standards, ledgers, transoms and diagonal bracing) are not supporting any other loading, vertical or horizontal, coming from the external structures like cranes, hoists, loading towers, rubbish chutes, etc. These structures should be designed as independent load carriers with separate ties to the building.

(a) SAFETY NETS AND FANS (b) WEATHER PROTECTION
Inspection and Findings

When (a) and (b) are incorporated in the scaffold the detailed relevant drawings should be available from the subcontractor for checking purposes.

LADDERS
Inspection and Findings

Every ladder must stand on a firm and even base and be supported only by the stiles. The ladder must be secured to prevent accidental displacement..
The ladder should project at least 1.05 mtrs. above the landing platform.
Inspect all rungs for soundness.

EXTENDED SCAFFOLD SKELETON
Inspection and Findings

Make sure the vertical and horizontal joints in tubes are staggered.
Not more than one lift can be erected above the scaffold ties.

MIXED CONSTRUCTION OF STEEL AND ALLOY SCAFFOLD
No mixing is permitted of steel and alloy scaffold components of the same designation.
All standards must be made either in steel or alloy.
Similar requirements apply to ledgers, transoms, bracing and ties.
Handrails must be made of the same material as ledgers.

Action to Take
The final arrangement to be checked by a competent supervisor/inspector.

SCAFFOLD TIES.
Inspection and Findings

Check ties in first 3-4 lifts.
Each tie must be fixed to both ledgers as near to standards as possible.
Horizontal spacing must not exceed three bays.
Vertical spacing at each storey height starting from the first floor or at every other lift.

Action to Take
Replace any missing tie.

DECKING.
Inspection and Findings

1. The working platform should be closely boarded, each board having at least three supports. (Standard board only)
2. Boards should be butted and they should over sail their last support by at least 50mm but not more than 150mm. Lapping is permissible if bevel pieces are provided to prevent tripping.
3. Precautions should be taken to hold down decking in high winds.
4. The space between the edge of the platform and the face of the building must be as small as possible. Where people need to sit on the platform edge to do their work, the space must not exceed 300mm.

Action to Take

Do not use scaffold until (1), (2) and (4) are rectified.

(3) Nail steel straps to hold boards together, or use proprietary board clamps.

GUARD RAILS AND TOE BOARDS
Inspection and Findings

(1) Both guard rails and toe boards should be fixed to the inside of the outer standards and remain in position before decking is removed. Inner side guard rails may be required where persons can fall.
(2) Guard rails should be fitted at not less then 950mm above the decking. There must not be an unprotected gap of 470mm between the top guard rail and the top of the toe-board.
(3) Toe boards should be at least 150mm high above the decking.

Action to Take

The decking must not be used until conditions (1), (2) and (3) are complied with.

For further advice on inspecting scaffolding please contact Veritas Consulting on 0121 249 1281 they have competent scaffold inspectors and offer a formal documented Scaffold Inspection Service.

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About 

David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a brain you can pick. Fluent in practical advice. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the Director of life at Veritas Consulting.

You can find him on - Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Construction, Expert Advice

5 Comments

  1. Frank
    March 4, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    very informative

  2. Rency Mathews
    February 16, 2012 at 4:26 am

    A real good information for any person related with scaffolding jobs.Very informative.

  3. September 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Really great and informative. I think it’s so important for safety inspections to be carried out on a regular basis.

  4. January 20, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Thanks for these tips, we are thinking to inspect our own service because we are also providing Scaffolding services in Yorkshire and nearby area. We always tries to professional services and works with our experienced team. Our all team members have at-least 3 year experience in this field. We provide full safety equipment’s to our worker because we does not want their lives on risk.
    Your tips are very useful and informative, thanks for these tips and best of luck for future.

    • February 14, 2017 at 8:57 am

      Thanks for commenting and dropping by

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