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December 23, 2013
OSHA renews alliance with scaffold safety group
By Emily Scace, Senior Editor, Safety

OSHA announced on December 18 that it has renewed its alliance with the Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA). The alliance seeks to provide safety information and training to workers who use scaffolds and lift equipment in order to prevent injuries from falls and other hazards.

According to OSHA, the renewed alliance will focus on preventing falls and caught-in-between hazards and will address hazards related to mast-climbing scaffolds, suspended scaffolds, and aerial lift equipment. The alliance members will use injury and illness data from selected industries to help identify appropriate areas of emphasis for its outreach activities.

OSHA’s scaffolding standard for construction (29 CFR 1926.451) is consistently among the agency’s top 10 most violated regulations. In 2013, it was number 3 in the list, with 5,423 violations. Frequent violations under the scaffolding standard include not providing safe access to scaffolding surfaces, lack of fall and/or falling object protection, and lack of guardrails.

The following are some tips for safe use of scaffolds:

  • Scaffolds must be designed by a qualified person and constructed and loaded in accordance with that design.
  • Install guardrail systems along all open sides and ends of scaffold platforms.
  • If workers on scaffolds will be 10 feet or more above a lower level, provide personal fall arrest systems and/or a guardrail system for fall protection. Certain types of scaffolds require personal fall arrest systems; suspension scaffolds require both types of protection.
  • Protect workers from falling objects by requiring hard hat use and installing toeboards, debris nets, barricades, or other appropriate methods.
  • Do not permit workers to climb the cross-braces of a scaffold. Provide proper access to scaffold platforms in the form of ladders, walkways, ramps, or stairs.
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