Scaffold Platforms and Fall Protection Safety

Scaffold Platforms and Fall Protection

Fall Protection – Falls are the leading cause of injuries and deaths associated with scaffold use. As an employer, the scaffold erector is required to provide fall protection for employees through a personal fall arrest or guardrail system. Unless specifically exempted, all workers must be protected from falling hazards anytime they work on a scaffold higher than 6 feet. 

Typically the fall protection on a scaffold will consist of a guardrail system. If using a guardrail system is not practical or would create an increased safety hazard, a personal fall arrest system may be used to protect employees from a fall hazard. The use of personal fall arrest systems should be restricted to the specific areas of the scaffold where guardrails cannot be used. 

Personal Fall Arrest Systems – Lanyards should be attached to an appropriate anchorage point such as a vertical lifeline, overhead anchor point or horizontal lifeline. When vertical lifelines are used, fasten them to a fixed safe point of anchorage, independent of the scaffold, and protect the line against sharp edges and abrasion.  In addition, you should not attach two or more vertical lifelines to each other or to the same point of anchorage. Horizontal- All anchorage points shall be capable of supporting a static load of 5000 lbs. unless the anchor point is specifically designed and engineered to serve as an anchor point. 

Guardrail Systems – Standard rails are required on all scaffold platforms. They should be installed along all open sides and at both ends of platforms. 

• Ensure that each top rail, or equivalent member of a guardrail system, can withstand a force of at least 200 pounds. The top edge height of all top rails must be between 38-45 inches. 

• Ensure that mid rails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, and solid panels can withstand a force of at least 150 pounds. Screens and mesh must extend from the top edge of the guardrail system to the scaffold platform and along the entire opening between the supports. 

• To protect passersby from falling objects, use toe boards, debris nets, and barricade the areas below the scaffolding to prevent people from entering the area.