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Frame Scaffold

Shoring and Formwork

Stageboards & Walkboards

System Scaffold

General Information

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Scaffolding Set Up Guides and Instruction Manuals
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Frame scaffolding, made from welded steel tubing (also called "pipe staging") is only safe if it is erected properly. Once the staging is erected with the proper planks, it should be like standing on a floor which will make your crew more comfortable and safe. It will also improve the quality of work they do from a solid platform no matter how high up they are.

Here are some very important steps to take to assure safe and proper scaffold erection.

1. Base preparation and setup

  • The key to trouble-free scaffold assembly is to begin with a firm and stable foundation.
  • Remove mud and debris from the setup area, and level the ground where the legs of the staging will stand.
  • Always use steel base plates or adjustable screw jacks placed onto wide wood base supports or mudsill planks under the first frame sets. Screw jacks will help you level the first frame sets on uneven ground.
  • Never use stacks of wood blocks, bricks, or concrete blocks to level the staging.

2. Erection of first level scaffold sections

  • Place your first frame sets onto the base blocks or mudsills and adjust each section so it's level and square.
  • Use levels and a string-line to set all the first-level sections, then nail the steel base plates into the base blocks or mudsills tosecure them.
  • Always use base plates even when setting up staging on a wood deck, concrete slab, or asphalt to keep the pipe staging legs from punching through the surface under heavy loads.

3. Bracing

  • Cross-bracing keeps the staging from swaying back and forth.
  • Braces should fit and lock onto each post in every section. Do not use tie-wire to secure braces that don't fit properly.
  • As you go up in height, you must also secure the staging to the building at regular intervals (for example: brace to the building every 16 feet in height and every 16 feet along the length of the building).
  • Wire alone won't work to tie staging to the building. Use wall tie-in brackets that clamp onto the staging and bolt into solid framing in the wall.

4. Stacking higher levels

  • Each next level of frames going up should fit and lock onto the coupling pins in the lower level staging.
  • Never use un-matched sets of frames that don't fit together. And always install the locking pins through the joined sections to hold them together.

5. Planking and toe-boards

  • Only use plank-grade lumber to avoid dangerous knots common in framing lumber. While engineered lumber and aluminum/plywood planks may cost more, they last longer and are safer than lumber planks.
  • Plan for the weight that the planks will have to carry.
  • Every working level must be fully planked across the work platform with no gaps wider than one inch.
  • Toe-boards a minimum of 4 inches high prevent materials and tools from falling from the work platform.

6. Guard rails and end rails

  • Platforms higher than 10 feet (7 feet in California) require two guardrails placed about 19 inches and 42 inches above the work platform.
  • Install manufactured guardrails or use 2x4's tied with #18 tie-wire. Do not use cross-braces as guardrails.
  • Enclose open ends with end rails that run to the building.

7. Access

  • Scaffold frames are designed for support only, not as a way to climb to the work platform.
  • Place and tie a properly sized ladder against the scaffold for access to the work platform, or install prefabricated staging stairs with handrails that run inside the frames.

8. Train your crew

Make these guidelines part of your company's Fall Protection training program for every member of your crew who will work from scaffolding. Assign one person on each crew to be responsible for overseeing the correct assembly and use of the scaffold, including inspecting parts for compatibility or damage during erection. Make sure to inspect the scaffold before use each day to make sure no other workers have changed the setup.

What are some general safety tips for erecting scaffolding?

  • Refer to safety regulations and standards for design and assembly requirements.
  • Choose the right scaffold system for the job.
  • Erect all scaffold parts according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Select scaffold according to: height required type and duration of work range of weather conditions weight of workers, materials and equipment location requirements for pedestrian traffic
  • Erect scaffold on a base that will support all the loads that will be applied including materials and equipment.
  • Make sure the backfill is compact and level.
  • Replace mud and soft soil with gravel or crushed stone.
  • Provide adequate sills for scaffold posts and use base plates. Set scaffold feet centrally on mudsills consisting of 50x250 mm (2x10 in.) planks. Sills should extend at least 610 mm (2 ft.) beyond the scaffold base and be long enough to extend under at least two scaffold feet.
  • Install scaffold with jackscrews (adjusting screws). They allow for minor adjustments to help keep scaffold plumb and level. Take extra precautions when erecting scaffold on frozen ground. Thawing soil can become water-soaked and lose its ability to bear weight.
  • Brace both sides of every frame for the vertical plane.
  • Install horizontal bracing at the joint of every third tier of frames. This bracing is often attached to the point where the scaffold is tied to the structure. Do not force braces to fit. Level the scaffold until a proper fit can be made easily. Use coupling devices to join frames to prevent the joints from pulling apart.
  • Do not use nails or other devices in the place of proper retention parts as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Tie or brace the scaffold to a solid structure as appropriate.
  • Use a debris net, catch platform or similar structure where appropriate to catch falling objects.

    What should I consider when installing guardrails?

    Install guardrails consisting of: a top rail 1 m (40 in.) above platforma midrail about halfway between the platform and the top rail on the inside of the posts a toe board 100 mm (4 in.) high fastened to inner side of posts posts and rails capable of withstanding a force of at least 900 N (200 lb.) applied at any point, or withstanding any load likely to be applied What must I remember about the stability of scaffold? Do not allow the ratio of scaffold height to base width to exceed 3 to 1 unless the scaffold is: tied into a structure stabilized by guy wires secured by outriggers or stabilizers to maintain the ratio