Safety Tips for Building Mobile Scaffolds (and Using Them)

Safety Tips for Building Mobile Scaffolds (and Using Them)

Building mobile scaffolds—otherwise known as rolling towers—is a convenient, low-cost option when you need to efficiently and frequently move elevated work platforms. These portable platforms can be configured in a variety of ways, but are defined by OSHA as any wheel-mounted or caster-mounted supported scaffold. They can be moved by a motorized device or by manpower; the latter is generally considered safer.

Scaffold safety is an important topic for construction sites, as falls are a leading hazard. Always make sure thorough scaffold safety inspection is completed by a competent person. Here’s a quick look at the basic rules and procedures to ensure that building mobile scaffolds at your sites is completed properly.

Mobile Scaffold Safety Tips

  • Large mobile scaffolds should be designed by an engineer
  • The mobile scaffold designer must have a clear understanding of the job site conditions, how the platform will be moved, what loads it must support, and the necessary height and width
  • A mobile scaffold’s height can’t be greater than four times its minimum base width (or three times greater in some states); outriggers can extend the base
  • Ensure that the mobile scaffold is plumb, level, and squared
  • Use horizontal, diagonal, or cross braces, or an appropriate combination of these
  • Check that all brace connections are secure
  • Use as few casters as possible and make sure the mobile scaffold’s size, load capacity, and configuration are in line with the casters’ load rating
  • Engage positive wheel and swivel locks on all casters at all times (except when the mobile scaffold is being moved)
  • Pin or otherwise safely secure casters to the mobile scaffold legs
  • Don’t erect a mobile scaffold with platforms extending beyond the base supports, unless an appropriate device like outrigger frames is used to guarantee stability (mobile scaffolds shouldn’t have side brackets or cantilevered platforms)
  • Comply with all tube and clamp or fabricated frame scaffold safety specifications as relevant
  • Only use a mobile scaffold on level, hard ground surfaces
  • When moving a mobile scaffold, apply manual force as close to the base as possible and not more than 5 feet above the supporting surface
  • Clear mobile scaffolds of all tools and other items before moving; nobody should be on a mobile scaffold while it’s being moved or before all locks are engaged on the casters

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