The 10 OSHA Scaffolding Requirements: What You Need To Know

The 10 OSHA Scaffolding Requirements What You Need To Know

Working on or around scaffolding can be dangerous if the proper safety precautions aren’t taken. That’s why the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has placed ten specific requirements for scaffolding to make working on or near them safer. Unfortunately, if unaware of these requirements, OSHA can issue citations and fines. So to avoid OSHA’s wrath, it’s essential to be aware and compliant with these scaffolding requirements: In this article, we will discuss the 10 OSHA scaffolding requirements. Understanding these requirements can help keep yourself and your coworkers safe while working on or near scaffolds.


What is OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a federal agency of the United States Department of Labor. OSHA’s primary mission is to ensure workers’ safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.

OSHA is the agency that’s responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health standards and guidelines. They also provide information, training, and assistance to employers and workers on how to comply with these standards. OSHA standards are mandatory requirements that employers must comply with to ensure the safety of their workers.


The 10 OSHA Scaffolding Requirements

Many injuries can be prevented by following essential scaffolding safety precautions dictated by the OSHA scaffolding regulations. But unfortunately, bad habits tend to occur; when they do, they often lead to scaffold-related accidents and injuries.

That’s why OSHA has compiled a set of scaffolding rules and standards to ensure that businesses, especially those in the construction industry, establish safety protocols to protect their workers. OSHA issued several scaffolding standards found in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart L.

The 10 OSHA scaffolding requirements are as follows:


Fall Protection

Employees more than ten feet off the ground need to be protected using guardrails or other fall arrest systems—except for employees on single or two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds. Fall arrest systems should protect these employees.

In addition, OSHA requires that employees working on scaffolds always have access to a ladder or stairway to get on and off the scaffold.

Regarding fall protection, OSHA requires that employers take measures to protect employees from falling off the scaffold. OSHA also requires that employees access a ladder or stairway to get on and off the scaffold.


Guardrail Height

Guardrails must be installed on all open sides and ends of scaffolds more than ten feet above the ground or working surface. The top edge of the guardrail must be between 39 and 45 inches above the working surface.


Cross Bracing

Cross Bracing is a technique that involves crossing braces to support framed structures such as scaffoldings. This technique makes frames and structures sturdier and more reliable as they will be able to support and hold heavier loads. As a standard, OSHA recommends that the crosspoint of cross bracing used as a top rail should be between 38 and 48 inches above the working platform.



Midrails are the middle bars of a scaffold guardrail system and should be installed midway between the top edge of the system and the working platform. OSHA requires the mid rail to be 21 and 27 inches above the working platform.

In addition, OSHA also recommends that mid rails be between 20 and 30 inches above the working platform.



Scaffold footings should be levels and have the capacity to support the loaded scaffold. The poles, legs, frames, and other upright components should carry the weight off the based plates and mud sills.



According to OSHA, the scaffold platforms should be resting on firm and level footing. It should be filled, decked, or planked with proper guardrails and mid rails. It should also feature toe-boards along its open sides. 

OSHA also requires that scaffold platforms be clean and debris-free to prevent workers from tripping and falling. Workers should also be able to get on and off the scaffold platform easily without jumping or climbing. There should also be a safe means of access, such as a ladder, to get on and off the scaffold platform.


Guying Ties and Braces

Guys, braces, and ties provide additional support to scaffolds. OSHA requires that all four sides of a scaffold be guyed, tied, or braced if the height of the scaffold is more than four times its minimum base dimension.

In addition, OSHA requires that all scaffolds be guyed, tied, or braced if they are more than 20 feet tall. All guys, ties, and braces should be properly installed, and OSHA requires that they be inspected regularly to ensure that they are in good condition.



The capacity refers to the load that the scaffold can safely hold. OSHA requires that a qualified person design all scaffolds to support four times their maximum intended load.

In addition, all scaffolds should be able to support their weight and the weight of the materials and equipment placed on them. OSHA also requires that the scaffold support at least twice the maximum intended load if it is not guyed, tied, or braced.



OSHA requires employers to provide adequate training for each employee involved in scaffolding work. The training should include the following programs:

  • Proper handling and use of the scaffold.
  • Hazards are associated with the type of scaffold used (e.g., electrical, falling objects, falling).
  • Methods of mitigating and preventing those hazards.
  • Maximum load and load-carrying capacities of scaffolds.
  • Other relevant requirements for scaffoldings.



Finally, OSHA requires that a competent person inspect all scaffolds before each work shift. And after any event that could affect the scaffold’s structural integrity. This includes inspections after adverse weather conditions, after modifications or repairs have been made to the scaffold, and after any other event that could potentially impact the scaffold’s safety.

In addition, OSHA requires that all scaffolds be inspected by a qualified person at least once every 30 days. The inspection should include checking all components, including the base plates, mud sills, bracing, guys, ties, and platform boards.


Create a Scaffolding Checklist Using DATAMYTE

To implement and manage these scaffolding requirements, you need comprehensive software that will create, automate, track, and streamline data collection for scaffold safety data over time. Fortunately, DATAMYTE has a solution for that in its Digital Clipboard.

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software that lets you create digital checklists for your quality control process. It helps you collect data electronically and in real-time to quickly identify issues and take corrective action. In addition, the Digital Clipboard has many features that make data collection easier and more efficient, such as barcode scanning, data entry forms, and signature capture.

Book a demo with us today to learn more about how the DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help you improve your scaffold safety process.



Knowing and understanding OSHA’s scaffolding requirements can create a safe work environment and prevent accidents. At the same time, you can also ensure that your construction business will not be cited for OSHA violations. 

Implementing a scaffolding safety program using DATAMYTE’s Digital Clipboard is the best way to ensure OSHA compliance and scaffold safety in your construction business.



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