All use of scaffolds must be risk assessed and in most instances controlled by or through Property & Campus Services.
Before using any scaffold, make sure that it is safe and suitable for the job.
- Are scaffolds erected, altered and dismantled by competent people?
- Are all uprights provided with base plates (and, where necessary, timber sole plates)?
- Are all uprights, ledgers, braces and struts in position?
- Is the scaffold secured to the building or structure in enough places to prevent collapse?
- Are there double guard rails and toe boards, or other suitable protection, at every edge, to prevent falling?
- Are additional brick guards provided to prevent materials falling from scaffolds?
- Are the working platforms fully boarded, and are the boards arranged to avoid tipping or tripping?
- Are there effective barriers or warning notices in place to stop people using an incomplete scaffold, e.g. where working platforms are not fully boarded?
- Is the scaffold strong enough to carry the weight of materials stored on it and are these evenly distributed?
- Are scaffolds being properly maintained?
- Does a competent person inspect the scaffold regularly, e.g. at least once a week; and always after it has been altered, damaged and following extreme weather?
- Are the results of inspections recorded?
- Have proprietary tower scaffolds been erected and are they being used in accordance with suppliers' instructions?
- Have the wheels of tower scaffolds been locked when in use and are the platforms empty when they are moved?
General access scaffolds
For any scaffold make sure:
- It is designed, erected, altered and dismantled by competent people and the work is directed by a competent supervisor?
- It should never be erected over people or busy pavements.
- It is based on a firm, level foundation?
- It is braced and tied into a permanent structure or otherwise stabilised?
- It is capable of supporting loads likely to be placed on it? Scaffolds are not usually designed to support heavy loads on their working platforms and you should never sheet a scaffold without informing the supplier.
- Platforms are fully boarded and wide enough for the work and for access?
- Scaffold boards are properly supported and not overhanging excessively (e.g. no more than four times the thickness of the board)?
- There is safe ladder or other access onto the work platforms?
- It is suitable for the task before it is used and checked whenever it is substantially altered or adversely affected by, for example, high winds?
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for erection, use and dismantling. Have a copy of the instruction manual available - if the scaffold has been hired, the hirer ought to provide this information.
- The tower must be vertical and the legs should rest properly on firm, level ground.
- Lock any wheels and outriggers - base plates provide greater stability if the tower does not have to be moved.
- Provide a safe way to get to and from the work platform, for example, internal ladders. Climbing up the outside of the tower may pull it over.
- Provide edge protection (guard rails and toe boards).
- Provide guard rails and toe boards on any intermediate platforms which are also being used as working platforms or for storing materials.
Tie the tower rigidly to the structure it is serving or provide other additional support if:
- The tower is sheeted.
- It is likely to be exposed to strong winds.
- It is used for carrying out grit blasting or water jetting.
- Heavy materials are lifted up the outside of the tower.
- The tower base is too small to ensure stability for the height of the platform.
If ties are needed, check they are put in place as required when the scaffold is erected. Make sure they are checked from time to time and that necessary ties are kept in place when the scaffold is dismantled.
- Use a ladder footed on the working platform or apply other horizontal loads which could tilt the tower.
- Overload the working platform.
- Fix ties to the centres of thin walled aluminium tubes.
- Move the tower by applying the necessary force at the platform level.
- Climb up the outside of the tower to reach the platform.
Moving a mobile tower
- Check that there are no power lines or overhead obstructions in the way.
- Check that there are no holes or dips in the ground.
- Do not allow people or materials to remain on it as towers tip over very easily when being moved.