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Regulations for Scaffold Safety in Chicago

Posted on February 25, 2022

Scaffolding is everywhere around the city of Chicago. Scaffolding is an important part of most construction projects, especially those that rise above the first level. It is crucial for construction workers and contractors to understand regulations involving scaffolding safety in Chicago. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets forth requirements for scaffolding at worksites, and state and local agencies are also responsible for setting forth their own requirements on top of federal regulations. Some important scaffolding requirements include the following:

1. Weight capacity

Scaffolding must be constructed in a way that is structurally sound and sturdy enough to support its own weight as well as four times the maximum intended load. The scaffolding should be able to handle this Max weight without any displacement or settling at all. A scaffold should be set up completely on solid footing.

2. Stability

It is crucial that every piece of scaffolding is stable. There should never be unsteady objects used to support the entire scaffolding or individual planks on the scaffolding. All too often, objects such as loose bricks, barrels, and boxes are used to support scaffolding.

3. Supervision of setup

There must be a competent person supervising workers as the scaffolding is being erected, moved, altered, or dismantled. It is not uncommon for scaffolding to have to be arranged at various points during a construction project, and this competent individual should always be present for this process.

4. Extra precautions

Scaffolding must have toe boards, mid-rails, as well as guardrails at all times. Any top rails manufactured or put into service after January 1, 2000, must be between 38 to 45 inches in height.

5. Regular maintenance

Scaffolding should be regularly inspected and maintained to ensure stability. This includes any braces, brackets, trusses, ladders, or screw legs. Any weak or damaged equipment must be repaired or replaced immediately.

6. Rigging inspections

Rigging on all suspension scaffolds must be inspected by the “competent person” at the construction site. This should occur before each shift begins.

7. Diagonal braces

It is important to train employees about the hazards of using diagonal braces as the fall protection point. These are meant for scaffold stability, not as tie-off areas for carabiners.

8. Access to the scaffolding

Scaffolding must be accessible through stairwells and ladders and not via any unsteady objects.

9. Distance from power lines

Scaffolding must be at least 10 feet away from any electrical lines at all times.

10. Planking

Every platform on all working levels of the scaffold must be fully planked or decked. OSHA sets out specific requirements about the materials that can be used as planking.

Contact an Attorney After an Injury

If you or somebody you care about has been injured as a result of a scaffolding accident at work, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled lawyer as soon as possible. A Chicago scaffolding accident attorney can investigate the incident and help you recover maximum compensation for your losses. Individuals injured as a result of scaffolding accidents should be able to recover compensation for their medical bills as well as a major portion of any lost wages they incur while they recover.