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Scaffold Safety: Part 2

In the last post, we looked at some sobering statistics on workplace injuries and deaths caused by failing to follow scaffold safety procedures. We also overviewed the different types of scaffolds.

In this post, we’ll focus in on supported scaffolds, and talk about the varieties within this category, their best uses, and where to go for specific safety guidelines for each variety.

Fabricated Frame

Fabricated frame scaffolds are the most common type of scaffold, and they’re what most people think of when they hear the term “scaffold.” They’re versatile, economical, and easy to use. They can be set up in tiers, and are commonly used by residential contractors and painters. Because their modular frames can also be stacked several stories high, they’re also often used on large-scale construction jobs. Specific safety guidelines for fabricated frame scaffolds can be found here.


Mobile scaffolds are a type of supported scaffold set on wheels or casters. They can easily be moved and are helpful in situations where workers must frequently change position, such as painting. Specific safety guidelines for mobile scaffolds can be found here.

Pump Jack

Pump jacks consist of a platform supported by moveable brackets on vertical poles. The brackets are designed to be raised and lowered in a manner similar to a car jack. Pump jacks are good for applications where workers need to easily access various heights, because they are easy to adjust and are relatively inexpensive. Specific safety guidelines for pump jack scaffolds can be found here.

Ladder Jack

A ladder jack scaffold are made up of of a platform resting on brackets attached to a ladder. Ladder jacks are most commonly used in light applications, since they are more limited. They’re portable and cost effective. Specific safety guidelines for ladder jack scaffolds can be found here.

Tube and Coupler

Tube and coupler scaffolds are built from tubing connected by coupling devices. They’re very strong, and are frequently used where heavy loads need to be carried, or where multiple platforms have to reach several stories high. Their versatility, which enables them to be assembled in multiple directions in a variety of settings, also makes them hard to build correctly, so there are additional safety concerns with this type of scaffold. Specific safety guidelines for tube and coupler scaffolds can be found here.


Pole scaffolds come in two kinds: single-pole, which are supported on their interior side by a structure or wall, and double-pole, which are supported by double uprights independent of any structure. Pole scaffolds are rarely used today because they have to be built from scratch and cannot easily be reused. Specific guidelines for pole scaffolds can be found here.

Other Types

There are other types of specialty scaffolds that are used for very narrow purposes, such as roofing or bricklaying. These scaffolds, along with their safety guidelines, can found here.

Scaffolds are one of the ways workers can be most easily injured, not only from falls, but also from being struck by objects falling above them, electrocution, etc. It may seem that there is an excessive amount of safety guidelines for scaffolds, but the number of guidelines indicates how common these injuries are, and how serious they can be.

In the next post, we’ll look at suspended scaffolds and the different varieties in that category, along with their common uses and guidelines.

photo credit: Scaffolding via photopin (license)



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