Many contractors think “a board is a board” and they can get their scaffold boards anywhere. Scaffold boards (also called scaffold planks, scaffold decking, and OSHA boards) are an extremely important component to your scaffolding system as they carry your workers and the weight of your materials. Your boards must meet strict OSHA standards before they can be used on your project. Not just any board will do. Construction grade lumber is only 2/3 the strength of OSHA grade scaffolding boards. This is not an area where you want to cut costs.
At Southwest Scaffolding, our scaffold boards are of the highest quality DI-65 Southern Yellow Pine. Our boards are inspected and certified by an independent inspector as OSHA compliant so you have adequate assurances that you are receiving a quality, safe product that will keep you OSHA compliant.
Our solid sawn scaffold boards come in the following sizes and prices:
Uses for Each Size Board:
16’ – masonry and stucco boards – covers two 7’ spans
12’ – covers a single 10’ span or two 5′ spans
9’ – covers a single 7’ span – may be used to create long platforms
8’ – covers a single 7’ or 5′ span – long platforms only with 5′ spans
80.5” – special cut board for Non-Stop Scaffolding
Choosing the Right Board Size
Standard scaffolding boards are 2”x10” nominal cut lumber. The dimensions (2’X10”) refer to the rough cut unfinished dimensions of the plank, which is then planed to produce a board that actually measures 1.5” x 9.25.” The length of board you choose depends on what kind of work you are doing, and how far apart your spans are. OSHA requires at least 6” of lap on each side of the scaffolding frames. See 1926.451(b)(4). This means that your scaffold boards must be at least 1’ longer than the span between the frames. When creating a long platform connecting multiple spans of frames, the board overlap must not be less than 12 inches unless the boards or platforms are nailed together or otherwise secured to prevent movement. See 1926.451(b)(7). This means that long platforms must be built with boards that span 2’ longer than the distance between the frames.
Our 16’ scaffolding boards are used to go across two 7’ scaffolding spans. These boards are perfect for situations where you are woking on a long stretch of wall and provide 1’ of overlap between boards. Using 16’ boards is safer because fewer laps need to be made and it is faster to deck out your scaffolding, since you will need fewer boards.
12’ boards are often used by contractors who need to cover a 10’ span – often in stucco or drywall applications.
9’ and 8’ boards are used by contractors who want to cover a single 7’ span – often used for short walls and towers.
80.5” scaffolding boards are a special length designed for use with Non-Stop scaffolding.
Determining the Quality of your Scaffold Boards
Working platforms must be fully decked and the number so boards you need will depend on the width of the scaffolding frames and how long the platform needs to be. Below is a chart showing the number of boards it takes to fully plank frames of different widths:
Frame Width No. of Boards Required
5’ 6 boards + 1 toe board
42” 4 boards + 1 toe board
3’ 3 boards + 1 toe board
2’ 2 boards + 1 toe board
OSHA also requires you to use toe boards. See 1926.451(h)(1). These toe boards are designed to keep objects from falling off the scaffolding platform, protecting people walking or working below. While toe boards do not have the same strength and density requirements as scaffolding boards, we recommend turning a scaffolding board up on the side and using it as a toe board.
What qualifies as an OSHA compliant scaffold board:
The heavier duty the application, the higher quality the scaffold board needs to be. We sell our boards so that they are compliant with masonry applications.
Scaffold grade lumber is higher grade than construction grade lumber. Scaffold grade lumber must have greater than 6 rings per inch, the slope of the grain must be one inch to the side for every 14 inches along the length of the board for Southern Pine, and it must have very few defects such as knots and notches.
The lumber should be graded by an independent lumber grading inspection agency and be identified by a grade stamp.
Load Limits on Scaffolding Boards
Load limits on scaffolding boards are determined by how much they deflect when weight is applied to them. A scaffolding board must not deflect more than 1/60th of its span between supports 29 CFR 1926.451(f)(16). Below is the maximum deflection allowed between spans of different lengths:
Span Length Calculation Maximum Permissible Deflection
10 feet 120 inches/60 inches 2 inches
7 feet 84 inches/60 inches 1⅜ inches
5 feet 60 inches/60 inches 1 inch
OSHA provides an Appendix A to 1926 Subpart L, to help contracts comply with the requirement of Subpart L. The information contained in this appendix is not mandatory. In this Appendix, OHSA designates three different categories for scaffolding load bearing calculations. They are:
Light Duty – 25 pounds per square foot.
Medium Duty – 50 pounds per square foot.
Heavy Duty – 75 pounds per square foot.
The above ratings are based on the intended load, which is calculated by dividing the total weight to be placed between two spans of scaffolding by the total area between the two spans. In most masonry applications, 5′ wide frames are spaced 7′ apart.
If you apply the 50 pounds per square foot maximum rating limit to the standard 7′ fully-planked span, a maximum of 1,750 pounds may be applied to the platform. Using full thickness (solid sawn) lumber, this weight is not a problem, however, full thickness lumber is hard to find so most masons use nominal thickness lumber now. According to OSHA, using the typical 7’ span between the frames with the 2X10 nominal thickness lumber will not achieve the 50 pounds/square foot rating in terms of board capacity. The maximum allowable span between the frames with this type of plank is 6’. Here is the link to this information: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/scaffolding/planking.html.
This limitation makes a good case for using manufactured boards/platforms (such as aluminum decks instead of the 2X10 nominal boards for heavy-duty applications. We sell both steel and aluminum 7′ and 10′ platforms that are rated for both 50 lbs/sq. ft. and 75 lbs/sq ft. Another solution would be to double your planks across the spans that will be receiving cubes of brick or block. When you are using outriggers, the weight of your workers on the outrigger platforms will not be applied to the main platform.
LVL Scaffolding Boards
LVL stands for laminated veneer lumber and contain numerous thin layers of wood that are laminated together by glue. The wood grain on each layer should face opposite directions for maximum strength. The advantage of these boards is that they cost less than the solid lumber boards, they are very uniform (no knots or defects), and you don’t have to worry about the boards splitting on the ends. The disadvantage to these boards is they tend to warp more than the solid sawn boards when exposed to moisture. We have our LVL scaffolding boards independently tested to ensure they are OSHA compliant.