Training on Scaffold Hazard Recognition an Essential Safety Requirement

Scaffolding trainingAn estimated 2.3 million workers in the construction industry work on scaffolds, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 10,000 workers are injured every year in scaffolding accidents.  Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents could prevent many of these injuries and save U.S. employers up to $90 million annually.

OSHA Standards require all employees who work on scaffolds to be trained on scaffold hazard recognition and prevention.  Workers must be trained by a qualified* person to recognize the hazards associated with the type of scaffold used and to understand the procedures to control and minimize those hazards.

A competent* person must train all employees who erect, disassemble, move, operate, repair, maintain or inspect scaffolds.  Training must cover the nature of the hazards, the correct procedures for erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, inspecting, and maintaining the type of scaffold in use.

OSHA Standards require retraining when (1) no employee training has taken place for the worksite changes, scaffold changes or falling object protection changes; or (2) where the employer believes the employee lacks the necessary skill, understanding or proficiency to work safely.

The OSHA Training Center recommends consulting OSHA’s detailed publication A Guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry.

The OSHA Training Center is offering OTC 301 – Scaffolding Safety Standards at its San Francisco Bay Area location in Dublin, California, on July 11-13, 2016.  This 3-day course, which includes hands-on exercises, covers OSHA compliance standards for various types of scaffolding, including supported, suspended and aerial lifts; how scaffolds work; and how to perform basic load analysis, and offers 2.3 CEUs.

*Qualified person is defined as one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training and experience, has successfully demonstrated his ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work or the project.

*Competent person is defined as one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.


  1. Thank you for this article. I completely agree that the person who is doing the training and using the scaffolds should be qualified and competent. I have been thinking about renting some scaffolding as well as trying to paint my house. I have a three story house so it might get a little dangerous. Do you have any recommended reading as to be the safest possible? Thank you!

  2. I always think it’s good to be proactive in preventing problems rather than wait until the problem occurs to react. I can see how it is beneficial that standards have been put in place to ensure worker safety. I wonder how many of those 10,000 worker injuries could have been prevented if they had better training.

  3. I found the blog informative as well as interesting. The detailed discussion on the qualities of the training has helped to make the best choice for construction. I wish to read more from you in the same context.

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