Staying safe on scaffolding:

Working at a construction site can be very dangerous, especially if you’re not implementing the correct safety precautions. One of the most important pieces of equipment on a construction site is scaffolding, and it is crucial to use it safely in order to avoid any accidents. Here are our tips for staying safe when using scaffolding once it has been erected by a competent person.

Tip One: Inspect the scaffolding before use

When using independent scaffolding or tower scaffold, it is important that the scaffold is inspected by a competent person to ensure its safety before starting to work. The written inspection must be completed when first erected, every 7 consecutive days on an independent scaffold, following any alterations that have taken place and after any adverse weather which could affect its stability, the same principles apply to tower scaffold but this should be given a written inspection daily and marked on a scafftag.

The inspection will ensure there are no defects that could affect its stability or put the user in danger during use. If there are any defects with the scaffold, the defects must be reported to the site manager and the scaffold should not be used until the defects have been rectified. 

Tip Two: Stay clutter-free

It is important to keep the scaffolding free of clutter i.e. waste materials/rubbish so that you can work safely on the platform. Make sure to keep the working area tidy, so tools or materials are not tripping hazards.

When considering where to place your tools or materials, do not hang them off the edge of the scaffolding as this is a high risk of them falling onto workers and 3rd parties working underneath / next to the scaffold.

Tip Three: Don’t overload the scaffolding with excess weight

When working with scaffolding, it’s important to be aware of the safe working load of the scaffold. Independent scaffolding and tower scaffolding have safe working load limits (SWL) and if you overload the scaffold there is a high risk of collapse.

You must ensure you know the scaffolding’s SWL before loading out the scaffold with materials and tools. You must check with the site manager if you are unsure of the SWL before you load out!  

Tip Four: Use three points of contact when climbing the ladder

When climbing the ladder, it is important to keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times. This will ensure that you are safe and stable while ascending or descending.

You should always use both hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand, to maintain your balance. If you lose your balance, you can quickly regain it by using one of these contact points. Do not attempt to carry tools or materials when climbing the ladder.  

Other Tips: General Safety Points 

There were so many other points we wanted to cover, here are just some of them:

  • The ladder must be secured at the top: ladder clips should be used to secure the ladder or tied using the ladder stiles
  • The correct angle for a ladder is 75 degrees or ‘4 up and 1 out’
  • Brick guards should be used to prevent falling objects
  • Netting should be used in conjunction with brick guards next to pedestrian walkways
  • Ladder gates should be used
  • Loading-bay gates should be used
  • Outriggers should be used on tower scaffold
  • All defects and alterations must be completed by a competent person

Our Summary:

When working with scaffolding, it is important to take the necessary precautions in order to stay safe. By following the five tips we’ve provided, you can help avoid any accidents and work safely on the scaffold. 


  • Scaffold to be given a written inspection daily (Tower Scaffold) / weekly (independent Scaffold) 
  • Stay clutter-free
  • Do not overload the scaffold – keep under the SWL
  • Use three points of contact when accessing/egressing the ladder
  • General safety points

Working at height is inherently dangerous. Here at Optimum Safety, we offer face to face working at height training courses or alternatively we have put together an eLearning course to help you train you and your team. If you are interested in discussing face to face training or booking any eLearning courses, please get in touch with us. Take care, and stay safe out there!

Published On: 31st March 2022 / Categories: Health and Safety /

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