If you are using scaffolding more than one set high, it’s absolutely necessary that you are aware of the OSHA tie off requirements, not only for your safety and the safety of your crews but also to keep you from receiving a citation from OSHA. As scaffolding is build higher, it becomes more top-heavy and unstable. According to OSHA, the scaffolding must be tied off at specific intervals as you go vertically up the wall. For the purposes of this post, “tie off” includes (guys, ties and braces).
There are two categories for vertical tie offs under OSHA, the initial tie off and additional tie offs. The initial tie off must be at at 4X the width of the base of the scaffolding. For instance, if the scaffolding is:
3’ wide, the initial tie off must be at 12’;
4’ wide, the initial tie off must be at 16’; and
5’ wide, the initial tie off must be at 20’.
In some cases, it may no be feasible or practical to tie off the scaffolding such as when a movable tower is required. In these situations you can increase the initial tie off requirement by widening the base of the scaffolding. For instance, we sell 30” outriggers for this very purpose. A pair of 30” outriggers on each side of the scaffolding will increase the first vertical tie off interval by 20’ so 5’ wide scaffolding with 30” outriggers on each side can be built to 40’ high before tie off is required.
Once the initial tie off is made, all additional scaffolding tie offs are at regular intervals. These intervals are:
20’ or less for scaffolding 3’ wide or less; and
26’ or less for scaffolding greater than 3’ wide.
Here is a link to the pertinent OSHA provision: 1926.451(c)(1)(ii)
If you have any questions regarding your scaffolding, tie off or other OSHA requirements, feel free to contact us. We can also supply you with the equipment you need to be OSHA complaint.