Oregon OSHA Construction Depot Safety and health newsletter for the Oregon construction industry

February 16, 2017

Construction Q&A: Supported scaffolds


Q Does a worker need to be certified to erect small, portable scaffolding?

A No. There is no certification requirement for erecting, moving, and dismantling scaffolding. However, scaffolds must be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered only under the supervision and direction of a competent person qualified in scaffold erection, moving, or dismantling. Such activities must be performed only by experienced and trained employees selected by the competent person. (Tom B)

Q I have two deteriorating wood planks on scaffold that I use for painting projects. Can I replace those planks myself?

A You can replace the planks, but there are two requirements to keep in mind:

  • The scaffold and each scaffold component (including the planks) must be capable of supporting, without failure, its own weight and at least four times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it.
  • The scaffold must be designed by a qualified person and must be constructed and loaded in accordance with that design. See Appendix A to 1926.451 (general requirements for scaffolds) for the design specifications that may apply to your type of scaffold.

The best way to ensure that you are meeting these requirements is to ask the manufacturer of the scaffold platform. The manufacturer designed the original scaffold planks and knows what thickness and what type of material would return the planks to their original design specifications. (Bryon S)

Q Are stair towers covered under Oregon OSHA's scaffolding rules for the construction industry?

A Yes. A stair tower – defined in 1926.450 (Scope, application, and definitions for scaffolds) – is made from scaffold components and has internal stairway units and rest platforms. They are used to provide access to scaffold platforms, floors, roofs, and other elevated surfaces. In Oregon, all stair towers are covered under Oregon OSHA's scaffolding rules for the construction industry, regardless of the surface they provide access to.