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Scaffold Safety: Part 3

Over the last few posts, we’ve been looking at scaffold safety, the different types of scaffolds, what each are best used for, and linking to more info on safety for each variety of scaffold.

This post takes a look at suspended scaffolds — platforms that are suspended from overhead by ropes or other non-rigid means.

Two-point (Swing Stage)

This is the most common type of suspended scaffold. It consists of a platform supported by stirrups and suspended by two ropes from overhead supports. Two-point scaffolds also have a mechanism that allow the platform to be raised and lowered, making them easy to use. They’re mostly used on skyscrapers or high-rise construction projects. Specific safety guidelines for two-point scaffolds can be found here.

Single-point Adjustable

These scaffolds consist of a platform suspended by one rope from an overhead support. They are also equipped with a mechanism that allows the platform to be raised and lowered. Single-point scaffolds are also known as boatswain’s chairs, and are most commonly used by window washers. Specific safety guidelines for single-point scaffolds can be found here.


A catenary scaffold is made up of a platform that’s supported by two horizontal and parallel ropes attached to the structure of a building (or other structure). They’re most commonly used on bridges and offshore rigs. Specific safety guidelines for catenary scaffolds can be found here.

Multi-point Adjustable

This type of scaffold consists of a platform suspended by more than two ropes from overhead supports. Multi-point scaffolds also have a means of raising and lowering the platform to different levels. Chimney cleaners often used these scaffolds. Specific safety guidelines for multi-point adjustable scaffolds can be found here.


Multi-level scaffolds are either two-point or multi-point scaffolds with a series of platforms at various levels that rest on stirrups. Specific safety guidelines for multi-level scaffolds can be found here.

Other Types

There are other types of suspended scaffolds that are used in specific situations. Interior hung scaffolds are used when a ceiling or structure has fixed-length supports, and a platform is hung by ropes from the supports. Needle beam scaffolds consist of a platform hung from needle beams. And float scaffolds are made up of a braced platform resting on two parallel bearers and hung from overhead supports. Because these types require certain things to be part of the worksite, they are less commonly used.

Because there are so many ways workers can be injured while using scaffolds, scaffold safety is a topic that should be reviewed regularly with workers. Scaffold safety is one of the primary areas where companies can save lives and prevent serious injuries.

photo credit: Superior Scaffold Services



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