What Is Scaffolding?

Scaffolding is a transitory framework to support the original formation. Workforce used it as a platform to carry on the works at various heights. Various types of scaffolding are used with the different type of work and heights. It should be stable and strong to support workmen and other construction material kept on it.


History / Archaism

The ancient Egyptians used scaffolding to rise the blocks of million tons used to build their magnificent pyramids. Use of scaffolding made them able to create those huge structures quickly and easily.



Sources also show that the ancient Greeks also used scaffolding in building work in the ancient cities of Greece.  For instance: The Berlin Foundry Cup famous red-figure kylix (what is called “a cup for drinking”) dates to the early 5th century BC. Was designed and created by an Attic vase painter. The cup shows that scaffolding was used during that time in history.

Sockets in the walls around the paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux, suggest that a scaffold system was used for painting the ceiling, over 17,000 years ago.

Chinese are also recorded as having used scaffolding to build tall buildings.



Modern Epoch Of Scaffolding

Early scaffolding was made of wood and secured with rope knots and was erected by individual firms with varying standards and sizes. During 2nd decade of twentieth century, the process was revolutionized by the “Scaffixer”, a coupling device far more robust than rope.  Scaffixer was then followed up with the improved “Universal Coupler” in 1919 –which soon became the industry standard coupling and has remained so to this day. 

Advancements in metallurgy in the early 20th century caused the introduction of tubular steel  pipes (instead of timber poles) with standardized dimensions, improving the ‘structural stability of the scaffold. The use of diagonal bracings also helped to improve stability, especially on tall buildings.


Why Scaffolding is Essential? 

When buildings and structures go up, a consolidated conjugation of workforce, planning, design, equipment and materials come together for the final result. From beginning to completing the project, there is always a complicated process in play. One of the least considered and yet necessary aspects of various industrial sites as well as any construction site is scaffolding. 


Components From Which Scaffolding Is Made

 Each type is made from several components which often include:

  • A base jack or plate which is a load-bearing base for the scaffold.
  • The standard, the upright component with connector joins.
  • The ledger, a horizontal brace.
  • The transom, a horizontal cross-section load-bearing component which holds the batten, board, or decking unit.
  • Brace diagonal and/or cross section bracing component.
  • Batten or board decking component used to make the working platform.
  • Coupler, a fitting used to join components together.
  • Scaffold tie, used to tie in the scaffold to structures.
  • Brackets, used to extend the width of working platforms.



Specialized Components Used To Aid 

  • heavy duty load bearing
  •  transoms ladders or stairway units for the ingress and egress of the scaffold
  • beams ladder/unit types used to span obstacles
  • rubbish chutes to remove unwanted materials 


Types Of Scaffolding 

  • Single scaffolding.
  • Double scaffolding.
  • Cantilever scaffolding.
  • Suspended scaffolding.
  • Trestle scaffolding.
  • Steel scaffolding.
  • Patented scaffolding.


Single Scaffolding

It is generally used for brick masonry and is also called as brick layer’s scaffolding. Single scaffolding consists of standards, ledgers, putlogs etc., which is parallel to the wall at a distance of about 1.2 m. Distance between the standards is about 2 to 2.5 m. Ledgers connect the standards at vertical interval of 1.2 to 1.5 m. Putlogs are taken out from the hole left in the wall to one end of the ledgers. Putlogs are placed at an interval of 1.2 to 1.5 m.



Double Scaffolding

Double Scaffolding is generally used for stone masonry so, it is also called as mason’s scaffolding. In stone walls, it is hard to make holes in the wall to support putlogs. So, two rows of scaffolding is constructed to make it strong. The first row is 20 – 30 cm away from the wall and the other one is 1m away from the first row. Then putlogs are placed which are supported by the both frames. To make it more strong rakers and cross braces are provided. This is also called as independent scaffolding.




Cantilever Scaffolding

Generally cantilever scaffoldings are used 

  • When the ground does not having the capacity to support standards,
  • When the Ground near the wall is to be free from traffic
  • When upper part of the wall is under construction.

This is a type of scaffolding in which the standards are supported on series of needles and these needles are taken out through holes in the wall. This is called single frame type scaffolding. In the other type needles are strutted inside the floors through the openings and this is called independent or double frame type scaffolding. Care should be taken while construction of cantilever scaffolding.



 Suspended Scaffolding

In suspended scaffolding, the working platform is suspended from roofs with the help of wire ropes or chains etc., it can be raised or lowered to our required level. This type of scaffolding is used for repair works, pointing, paintings etc.



Trestle Scaffolding

In Trestle scaffolding, the working platform is supported on movable tripods or ladders. This is generally used for work inside the room, such as paintings, repairs etc., up to a height of 5m.



Steel Scaffolding

Steel scaffolding is constructed by steel tubes which are fixed together by steel couplers or fittings. It is very easy to construct or dismantle. It has greater strength, greater durability and higher fire resistance. It is not economical but will give more safety for workers. So, it is used extensively nowadays.




Patented Scaffolding

Patented scaffoldings are made up of steel but these are equipped with special couplings and frames etc., these are readymade scaffoldings which are available in the market. In this type of scaffolding working platform is arranged on brackets which can be adjustable to our required level.


Scaffolding Hazards

While convenient to use, scaffolds can evolve serious risks if proper precautions and control measures aren’t practiced. 

While there are different types of scaffolds, there are a number of risks and hazards common to all. 

  • Unsecured ladder slipping.
  • Use of unsuitable, damage and faulty materials.
  • Inadequately supported scaffold boards.
  • Omission/removal of guard rails.
  • Not proper tie-in/braced.
  • Overloading of platform and board.


General Safety Precautions For Scaffolding
  1. Only competent third part certified person is allowed for scaffolding job.
  2. Cold work permit is required.
  3. Employees must be used chin straps, leather gloves and safety harness full time.
  4. Tools and spanners shall be secured with body.
  5. Area shall be barricaded and signs board to be displayed.
  6. Non-sparking tools shall be used in hazardous area.
  7. Materials, clamps shall not drop or through.
  8. Leather bags shall be used for shifting.
  9. While erection and modifications, red tag shall be display on height equal to eye level.
  10.  If height exceeding the ratio, additional tie-in with nearby existing structure shall be given.
  11. Job shall be suspended in case of heavy wind more than 65kmph and rain.
  12. Dismantling start from top.
  13. Scaffolding tag shall be renewed after one week and checklist shall be maintained.
  14. Ladder shall be raised at least one meter above landing platform and should be secure at three locations.
  15. Loose materials, clamps shall not be kept unattended on working platform.
  16. Risk Assessment is required If Wind speed is More than 50kmph.
  17. Mobile Scaffold Casters (wheel) diameter should be 5inch 1(12.7cm) & Swivel lock required.


 OSHA’s Recommendations To Mitigate Scaffolding Hazards

To best stay safe while using scaffolding, OSHA recommends a variety of tips 

  • Always use footings that are level, rigid and able to support loads without settling or moving.
  • Securely plumb and brace equipment to help prevent swaying and dislodgment.
  • Plumb and level the scaffold as you go.
  • Ensure all connections and couplers are securely fastened before moving on in the assembly process.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when installing ties and braces.
  • Refrain from mixing scaffolding components from different manufacturers unless you’re sure you can do so safely.
  • Place toe boards on railed sides to help prevent objects from falling.
  • Don’t work on a scaffold if it is snowy, icy or slippery.


Your workforce is your most valuable asset. Their safety is your prior responsibility. It takes some time to erect scaffolding.   Its very structure  which should be built by considering the answers of followings

 How many people will it hold? 

What parts of the building must be made accessible to workers? 

 How long will it be up?  

What conditions must it weather through? 

 How will the building look during this process? 

  What are the steps required to accomplish our objectives?

 Who will be responsible for each step? 

How will we monitor progress? 

 Who will keep everyone informed?  

When will the process be completed?  

“Scaffolds are visible, and so should be your devotion to safety of your people!”


For the top-level Industrial safety courses, more advice or any personalized information get in touch with us 

At: info@keneducation.in, or visit our website www.keneducation.in or call us on +917569034271

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Tag:     Health & Safety


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