Scaffolding Safety Requirements You Need to Know

Ensure compliance with the law by prioritising proper planning. Familiarise yourself with the basic regulations and necessary protective measures for all involved.
April 22, 2024 by
Scaffolding Safety Requirements You Need to Know
SP Group Global Ltd

Working on scaffolding involves labouring high above the ground — not to mention the inherent hazards. Prioritising safety is non-negotiable in this line of work. Continue reading to learn the scaffolding safety requirements, including the law, the basic regulations, and types of protection to be used.

The Law

The law requires proper planning, competent supervision, and the use of the right equipment.

The workspace should be first assessed for any potential hazards that could compromise the safety of all involved. The initial plan should include details on the dimensions, type, and layout of the scaffolding. Most importantly, it should be strong enough to support the weight of workers and loads.

Part of the planning also includes appointing professionals for the design, erection, altering, and dismantling of the scaffolding. A competent supervisor should oversee workers and be present throughout the process. A bit of their role is to verify that the scaffolding sits on firm, level, and stable ground.

Finally, measures should be taken to protect workers by equipping each with personal protective equipment (PPE). Anticipate the number of workers scheduled for duty to ensure that everyone has their safety gear prepared before construction begins. The employer may conduct a brief inspection of the employees to ensure their safety attire fits properly.

Basic Scaffolding Regulations

The following rules and regulations must be followed by a contractor or company when using scaffolding:

  1. Only those who have received proper training are involved in erecting the scaffolding. Employing companies must verify that their scaffolders hold the necessary licenses to do so.
  2. Get permission to put up scaffolding on sidewalks or highways. Also, schedule the work when there are fewer people around to lower the risk of injury to the public whenever possible.
  3. Have the scaffolding inspected prior to use, and thereafter inspect it at least once a week. Plus, conduct inspections after any alterations and extreme weather conditions. For instance, after a storm with strong winds. The scaffolding should be checked to make sure it’s still safe for the workers to use and for those passing by underneath it.

Types of Protection to Keep Workers Safe at Height

According to The Work at Height Regulations 2005, Regulation 7, working conditions and risks at the location where the equipment is to be used must be considered. The employer must provide suitable gear for workers based on the nature of the work.

There are two types of protection:

#1 Personal protection

“Personal protection” is meant to protect individuals from harm and keep them safe. They only work, though, if used correctly. This may be wearing safety helmets like hard hats or the use of fall arrest harnesses. These items should be provided to workers, and they must be trained in their uses.

Read our guide to ‘Why Head Protection Matters When Working at Heights + Safety Helmet Features’, for more information.

#2 Collective protection

As the name suggests, this protection applies to all, including the public. There are three aspects to consider for public safety: 

  1. Safety on-ground, where all ground-level scaffolding must have end caps, stud bolt caps, and yellow foam protection for added visual. These components ensure each tube and tube end is visible, making it almost impossible to miss even in peripheral vision.
  2. Safety from above by using debris netting to make sure nothing drops from the scaffold. By surrounding the work area, the net prevents loose materials or tools from falling outside the scaffold perimeter. It also acts as a safety catch in the event of a worker’s accidental fall.
  3. Safety from wrong access by closing entry points when there’s a high risk of falling debris within the area using temporary walls. The scaffold area should also be marked with signs and warnings for the public to see.

Learn more about these general guidelines and best practices by reading our ‘How to Ensure Public Safety When Working with Scaffolding’ guide.

Interested in our PPE and scaffold protection products? Our 5-star rated customer service is ready to help you with a FREE consultation. Contact us via or call us at +44 (028) 9442 8611.