Fabricated Frame Scaffold

Fabricated frame scaffold: A scaffold consisting of platforms supported on fabricated end frames with integral posts, horizontal bearers, and intermediate members.

There are more modern scaffolding options these days.

Scaffolding In Place

Fabricated frame scaffolds are the most common type of scaffolding because they are versatile, economical, and easy to use. They are frequently used in one or two tiers by residential contractors, painters, etc., but their modular frames and braces can also be stacked several stories high for use on large-scale construction jobs.

Fabricated Frame Scaffold Fall Protection

The number one scaffold hazard is worker falls. Fall protection consists of either personal fall-arrest systems or guardrail systems and must be provided on any scaffold 10 feet or more above a lower level. Specific requirements are described below.

  • Each employee on a scaffold more than 10 feet above a lower level must be protected from falling to that lower level.
  • Fall protection consists of either personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems meeting OSHA requirements.
  • Employees performing overhand bricklaying operations from a supported scaffold must be protected from falling from all open sides and ends of the scaffold, except at the side next to the wall being laid.
  • Employers are required to provide fall protection for employees erecting or dismantling supported scaffolds where it is feasible, and where installing and using it does not create a greater hazard.

Fall Arrest Systems

  • In addition to meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.502(d), personal fall-arrest systems used on scaffolds are to be attached by lanyard to a vertical lifeline, horizontal lifeline, or scaffold structural member.
  • When vertical lifelines are used, they must be fastened to a fixed safe point of anchorage, independent of the scaffold, and be protected from sharp edges and abrasion. Safe points of anchorage include structural members of buildings, but not standpipes, vents, electrical conduit, etc., which may give way under the force of a fall.
  • It is dangerous and therefore impermissible for two or more vertical lifelines to be attached to each other, or to the same point of anchorage.
  • When horizontal lifelines are used, they are to be secured to two or more structural members of the scaffold.

Handrail Systems

  • Handrail systems must be installed along all open sides and ends of platforms and must be in place before the scaffold is released for use by employees other than erection/dismantling crews.
  • Walkways located within a scaffold must have handrail systems installed within 9½ inches of and along at least one side of the walkway.
  • Each top rail or equivalent member of a handrail system must be able to withstand a force of at least 200 pounds applied in any downward or horizontal direction, at any point along its top edge.
    • The top edge height of top rails on supported scaffolds must be between 36 inches and 45 inches.
    • When conditions warrant, the height of the top edge may exceed the 45-inch height, provided the handrail system meets all other criteria. (NOTE: The minimum top edge height on scaffolds manufactured or placed in service after January 1, 2000 is 38 inches).
  • Midrails, screens, mesh, intermediate vertical members, solid panels, etc., must be able to withstand a force of at least 150 pounds applied in any downward or horizontal direction, at any point along the midrail or other members.
    • When midrails are used, they must be installed at a height approximately midway between the top edge of the handrail system and the platform surface.
    • When screens and mesh are used, they must extend from the top edge of the handrail system to the scaffold platform, and along with the entire opening between the supports.
    • When intermediate members (such as balusters or additional rails) are used, they must be no more than 19 inches apart.
  • handrail s must be surfaced to prevent punctures or lacerations to employees and to prevent snagging of clothing, which may cause employees to lose their balance.
  • Ends of rails may not extend beyond their terminal posts, unless they do not constitute a projection hazard to employees.
  • In lieu of handrails, crossbracing may serve as a toprail or midrail, providing the crossing point is:
    • Between 20 and 30 inches above the work platform for a midrail, or
    • Between 38 and 48 inches above the work platform for a toprail.
  • See YellowGate Railing Systems or YellowGate Handrails

Fabricated Frame Scaffold Accidents

We all know how hazardous shoddy scaffolding can be. Insecure bracing, poor materials, unsafe construction, lack of attention to safety board regulations – all lead to scaffolding accidents.

An estimated 2.3 million construction workers, or 65 percent of the construction industry, work on scaffolds frequently. Protecting these workers from scaffold-related accidents may prevent some of the 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths every year, which cost employers millions in workdays lost. In a recent study, 72 percent of workers injured in scaffold accidents attributed the accident either to the planking or support giving way or to the employee slipping or being struck by a falling object.

There are lawyers that are very experienced in scaffolding and understand the rules and regulations that are applied to them. If you find you’re one of the many that have had a scaffolding injury, then you should seek legal aid as soon as possible. The lawyers will sometimes evaluate your case for free and tell you if you are justified in suing the company.

Base plates and mud sills are required on scaffolding. The surface where the mudsills are placed must be capable of keeping the scaffolding in place. Another essential component is the scaffold ties. After the first tie is attached properly, then subsequent ties should be attached safely. The height of these subsequent ties should not be more than twenty-six feet. You must also put ties at horizontal intervals, which doesn’t exceed thirty feet, and all ties should be able to stand up to a push or pull of 2500 pounds of weight. Even with this additional ties may be necessary to ensure your safety on the scaffolding.

Scaffolding Rental vs. Semi-Permanent Metal Modular Platforms

Renting or leasing typical metal scaffolding for semi-permanent or longer-term applications has many disadvantages and some are just downright UNSAFE if not installed correctly. Not the least of which is that scaffolding must be reinspected and re-certified on a regular basis. Sometimes creating timely delays and costly fines if not performed on time.

Because traditional metal scaffolding is meant for temporary access in construction or maintenance applications, its design is not fully suited for longer-term applications. ErectaStep solves that problem; simply configure, install, and forget about it. Learn More

OSHA Requirements

Source: OSHA.gov

Fabricated Frame Scaffold Base Section

It is impossible for a stable structure to be built upon a foundation that does not start out square and level. OSHA has standards that apply specifically to the steps that must be taken to assure a stable scaffold base.

  • In order to assure stability, supported scaffolds must be set on:
    • Base plate,
    • Mud sills
    • Or other adequate firm foundation
  • Footings must be capable of supporting the loaded scaffold without settling or displacement.
  • Unstable objects may not be used to support scaffolds or platform units.
  • Front-end loaders and similar pieces of equipment shall not be used to support scaffold platforms unless they have been specifically designed by the manufacturer for such use.
  • Forklifts shall not be used to support scaffold platforms unless :
    • The entire platform is attached to the fork.
    • The forklift is not moved horizontally while the platform is occupied.

Fabricated Frame Scaffold Plumb

Supported scaffold poles, frames, uprights, etc. must be plumb and braced to prevent swaying and displacement. In general, a level is the easiest way to achieve the desired right angles.

Support Structure

To control the risk of a scaffold falling or collapsing, employers must assure that scaffolds are built within OSHA standards relating to strength and structural integrity.

NOTE: Except where indicated, these requirements also apply to manually propelled, pump jack, ladder jack, tube and coupler, and pole scaffolds, as well as the specialty scaffolds described in the Supported Scaffolds module.


  • Scaffolds and scaffold components must be capable of supporting, without failure, their own weight and at least 4 times their maximum intended load.
  • Scaffolds shall be altered only under the supervision and direction of a competent person.


  • Frames and panels must be connected by cross, horizontal, or diagonal braces, alone or in combination, which secures vertical members together laterally.
  • As frames are stacked, cross braces must be of such length as will automatically keep the scaffold plumb, level, and square.
  • All brace connections must be secured to prevent dislodging.


  • Frames and panels must be joined together vertically by coupling or stacking pins or equivalent means.
  • Frames and panels must be locked together to prevent uplift, where uplift can occur. Uplift is the separation of a frame from the frame below it.


  • Scaffold components manufactured by different manufacturers must not be intermixed unless they fit together without being forced and the scaffold’s structural integrity is maintained.
  • Scaffold components manufactured by different manufacturers are not allowed to be modified to make them fit together unless a competent person determines that the resulting scaffold is structurally sound.
  • Scaffold components made of dissimilar metals must not be used together unless a competent person has determined that galvanic action will not reduce the strength of any component below OSHA standards.


Workers are most vulnerable to fall hazards when climbing on or off a scaffold. Therefore, employers are required to provide safe scaffold access. Erectors and dismantlers face additional access problems due to the incomplete condition of the scaffolding. Requirements to prevent falls that apply only to these workers are addressed separately below.

Project Profile – RollaStep as a Scaffolding Alternative.

A large tire manufacturing plant had to regularly access their heat exchangers, a piece of equipment that is used in transferring heat between a solid object and a fluid, or between two or more fluids. Workers needed a work platform to access these heat exchangers for maintenance every 4-6 weeks throughout the year.

Scaffolding Project Profile