How to Set Up Scaffolding


According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, scaffolding accidents result in 60 deaths and thousands of injuries each year. Lack of guardrails and improper assembly of the scaffold are the leading causes of these accidents.

Workers on scaffolding

If you are planning on using a scaffold for home repairs, knowing how to set up scaffolding correctly is essential. Read on to learn the best way to set up scaffolding to prevent injuries.

How to Set Up Scaffolding: Select a Secure Location

The location on which you set up the scaffolding must be level and secure. Most types of scaffolding need to be used on flat ground. Excavate or fill in the spot and obtain mud sills or base plates to make the structure more stable. If using scaffolding on soft ground, add 2×10 blocks under each baseplate. If you are working on an extreme slope, use leg extensions. When looking to move scaffolding around the location, add casters. Don’t forget to lock the casters. Learn more about scaffolding accessories and how to build your own scaffold package.

Assemble the Frame

When setting up the frame, layout the ends first. Ensure they are in line with each other. Lift each end and attach the upper cross brace. The far end of the cross brace should hold the end piece at an angle while you lift the opposite one. Attach the other side of the cross brace to the second end piece. If using casters, engage the brakes. Lift the cross braces and secure the bottom of the opposite end piece. Repeat with the second set of cross braces.

Assembling scaffolding

Add Scaffolding Planks

Lift the planks up and through the scaffold bars. Depending on the size of the planks, you may need help. Use the appropriate locking equipment to fasten the planks in place. Avoid substituting regular wood planks for scaffolding planks. Regular wood is not always strong enough to support people and tools.

Ensure Access and Safety

If you are using ladders to gain access to the scaffold, choose ladders designed for that specific type of scaffolding. If using stair-like ladders, ensure they have guardrails and treading. Next, install the guardrails. To prevent the scaffolding from tipping over, attach stabilizers at the bottom, tying them to the building if needed. Inspect the scaffolding and do so each time you use it. Remember not to move to the scaffold when there are people, materials, or tools on it. If you are working near power lines, use a ladder jack.

Begin Your Project Safely

By knowing how to set up scaffolding, you can protect yourself as you start a construction project. The right scaffolding package, with all of the accessories you require and a setup guide you can follow, will save you time and ensure your construction site is safe. Learn more about setting up equipment for home improvement projects by reading our Tools page!


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