Can You Put A Ladder On Scaffolding?

Last Updated on August 31, 2022 by William R. Vargas

Did you know that fall hazards are the leading cause of fatality for construction workers? They account for more than 33 percent of all deaths in construction annually. About 15 percent of the falls are from scaffolds.

According to OSHA, 65 percent of construction professionals work on scaffolds every year. Therefore, many of them are exposed to fall hazards. Can you put a ladder on the scaffolding? Yes, you can. Please keep reading to find out how to do it safely.

Ladder On Scaffold Safety

Ladder On Scaffold Safety

When working with scaffolding, the primary safety issue is whether the scaffold is safe. If the scaffold was erected professionally and under the supervision of a competent team, it is safe to use. In addition, you must wear the appropriate protective gear when working with scaffolding. Here are a few scaffolding OSHA guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Inspect your ladders to ensure that the joints aren’t cracked or broken. Avoid painting your scaffold wood planks. That way, you can easily spot cracks. 
  • When climbing or descending your ladder, always face it. Keep both of your feet on the ladder at all times.
  • Place your ladder on flat, stable ground.
  • When working with supported scaffolds, ensure that they have fully-supported platforms, complete guardrails, proper access, and ties to buildings when necessary.
  • Avoid working on scaffolds during high winds unless a competent professional says it is safe. When you do, wear personal fall protection equipment.
  • Keep your scaffolds at least ten feet away from power lines unless they are de-energized.
  • Get training from a competent person. They should give you tips for assembling, operating, inspecting, and moving the scaffolds.
  • Get a three 1/2-inch high toe board to ensure that objects don’t fall off the scaffold. 
  • When working on a scaffold that is ten feet or higher, get protection from falling hazards. Standard protection should include a guardrail system with a top rail to support at least 200 lbs., toeboards, and a mid rail.

Scaffolding Ladder Safety-Attaching a Ladder to Scaffolding

Attaching your ladder to scaffolding isn’t the same as attaching it to a solid wall. A ladder on top of the scaffold has to be long enough. It should extend above your working platform unless you have another method for ensuring a sufficient handhold. Ideally, your ladder needs to extend at least 1.0m over the lift.

Set your ladder at 65-75 percent. If you risk falling over the guardrail as you climb between landing platforms, consider introducing an extra guardrail. With higher landing areas, you’ll need a guard around your ladder top.

Ensure that your ladder fits the job. Get a professional to inspect it before installation.

Securing the Ladder

  • Position your ladder on level ground, ensuring that it feels stable and secure.
  • Use square leashing to secure the ladder with rope or appropriate wire. Cable ties and proprietary ladder clamps may be great for offering extra strength.
  • If scaffold fittings won’t cause damage to your metal ladders, consider using them.
  • Your ladder should be secured above the working platform. Secure both stiles to prevent ladder slipping.
  • If your ladder is tied off, be careful to ensure that your support tube is directly behind or right below the rung. This should help you prevent false step hazards.

Does OSHA allow ladders on scaffolds?

Yes. OSHA allows ladders on scaffolds. However, it calls for certain safety precautions when using them. The safety of the scaffold is just as important as the safety of your ladder.

How much weight can scaffold support?

A light load scaffold can hold a maximum of 225kg.  Medium load scaffolding holds about 450kg, and heavy load scaffolding can hold up to 675kg. Anything heavier than that can make it unstable and increase the risk of breaking.

Do scaffold ladders need fall protection?

Yes. You need fall protection whenever you use scaffold ladders. Guardrail systems offer the best form of protection.

Conclusion

Can you put a ladder on the scaffolding? Yes, you can. However, you must put in the effort to promote safety. In addition to wearing protective clothing, you must ensure that your ladder is placed on flat and stable ground.

Inspect your ladder to ensure it is free of cracks and splits before use. When unsure, always get the opinion of a professional. With some attention to detail, you putting a ladder on scaffolding doesn’t need to be dangerous.

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