In the building and construction industry, scaffold boards—also referred to as walkboards or scaffold planks, scaffold wood, and scaffolding wood (when made from wood)—are materials used along scaffolding structures to facilitate safe working conditions at height. Typically, these boards are made from treated and finished wood, such as southern yellow pine or spruce, which then undergo inspection for compliance to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Alternatives to traditional wood boards include laminated veneer lumber (LVL)—consisting of multiple layers of thin wood assembled with adhesives.
The following blog post provides an overview of scaffold boards, outlining some of the wooden types available and the requirements for OSHA compliance.
Types of Wooden Scaffolding Board
Equipped with 80 years of combined experience in the scaffold plank industry, the team at Kennison Forest Products has the skills and knowledge to source and supply quality wooden walkboards for use in a wide range of scaffolding and contractor applications. Our product offerings include:
Solid Sawn Scaffolding Planks
Our solid sawn scaffolding planks offer a higher machine stress rating (MSR) per the grade rulebook that meets and exceeds industry requirements for functional and visual characteristics. Features include:
- Compliance with OSHA/ANSI standards
- Availability in S4S and rough surfaces and 2 inch by 10 inch and 2 inch by 12 inch sizes
- Rodded ends and clipped corners
- Precision end trimming and painting
- Options for custom embossing and paper wrapping
- Made in the USA guarantee
Made from Southern pine—a species of lumber known for its reliability—our solid sawn scaffolding planks offer exceptional stability and durability, making it a cost-effective and dependable option for use by scaffold manufacturing companies and professional contractors in the masonry, plastering, and stucco industries.
Laminate Veneer Lumber (LVL)
We are the exclusive distributor of SURE-LAM 2.1E and 2.3E——made entirely in the USA from high-quality Douglas fir. The strength of the base material combined with advanced manufacturing techniques makes for a scaffold board that offers superior reliability at a competitive price. Features include:
- Compliance with OSHA/ANSI standards
- Rigorous testing and inspection, including by an independent third-party
- Options for custom lengths, sizes, and embossing
- Choice of end seal color
- Made in the USA guarantee
Requirements for OSHA Compliance
According to OSHA estimates, thousands of injuries that occur in the workplace are a result of not following regulations or improper employee training regarding scaffolding safety. In regard to scaffold boards, this refers to both incorrect selection and usage.
When choosing and using wooden scaffold boards in a scaffolding application, it’s important to consider, among other factors, size, load capacity, number required, and condition. Some of the considerations to keep in mind include:
- OSHA standards require at least six inches of overlap on each side of the frame.
- Scaffolds should not defect—i.e., warp—more than 1/60th of their length.
- Each component of a scaffolding system must be able to support at least four times the maximum intended load before being used on a project.
- Safe use of scaffolding requires that the quality and strength of the system increases with more substantial applications.
- Before using a scaffold board, ensure the board is properly treated and sealed by the manufacturer, which is essential to maintaining safe and sturdy conditions during construction operations.
Using scaffold grade lumber—which is of a higher quality than construction grade lumber—is also of the utmost importance. To be classified as scaffold grade lumber, the material needs to have more than six rings per inch, have few defects (e.g., knots and notches), and, for Southern pine, have a grain slope of one inch to the side for every 14 inches along the length. Additionally, the lumber should be inspected, graded, and clearly marked by a certified independent third-party agency.
Quality Scaffolds Boards From Kennison
At Kennison Forest Products, we are the premier provider of scaffold planks—including solid sawn and LVL boards—for scaffolding companies and contractors around the world. For quality products at a competitive price, you can count on us.
In the construction industry, scaffolding plays a critical role in many worksites. The structures help establish safe working conditions for employees operating at elevated heights by offering support and stability to access and working platforms. However, aboveground operations also inherently carry a heightened risk of worker injury from falls and falling objects. In 2003 and 2004, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 4,500 injuries and over 40 deaths were attributed to scaffold-related accidents. A more recent study indicated over 72% of injuries in scaffold-related accidents stemmed from faulty equipment, falling, or falling objects. The risk of these and other accidents occurring can be reduced by complying with scaffolding safety standards.
OSHA’s Standards for Scaffolds and Scaffolding
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes numerous rules and regulations that outline safe work practices for construction sites, including in regard to the design, construction, and use of scaffolds and scaffolding. These standards focus on protecting workers from scaffold-related hazards, including, but not limited to, falls, falling materials and equipment, and electrocution. Below we outline some of the general OSHA requirements for scaffolds.
- Capacity: The scaffold and individual scaffolding components must be able to support their own weight plus at a minimum four times the maximum intended load without failing.
- Scaffold platform construction: OSHA standards define the acceptable design and construction characteristics for all components of the scaffold platform, including the planking, work area width, and guardrails. For example, the planking should be able to support its own weight plus four times the intended load, the work area should be at least 18 inches in width, and guardrails must be installed on all scaffolds with open sides and ends that allow for a fall of more than 10 feet.
- Supported vs. suspended scaffolds: Supported scaffolds are supported by rigid support elements, while suspended scaffolds hang from ropes and other non-rigid elements. Both types have standards addressing safe design, construction, and use.
- Access: Scaffolds must have an acceptable form of access (e.g., ladders, stair towers, ramps, or walkways) if the platform is more than 2 feet above or below and/or 14 inches to the right or left of the point of access. A safe point of access should be present during erection and dismantling operations.
- Use: The use of shore and lean-to scaffolds is prohibited in construction worksites. Additionally, employees are not permitted to use scaffolds if they are covered by ice, snow, or other slippery substances (except for the removal of the substances) or too close to powerlines.
- Fall protection: Employers must give employees fall protection equipment for operations involving scaffolds more than 10 feet above ground or a lower level. The equipment provided depends on the type of scaffold employed.
- Falling object protection: Barricades, catch platforms, canopy structures, debris nets, guardrail systems, screens, and toeboards should be installed to protect employees from falling materials and equipment. Employees should also wear hard hats when on or near the scaffold.
For a more comprehensive outline and explanation of OSHA’s scaffold and scaffolding standards, check out their guide to Scaffold Use in the Construction Industry.
Additional Safety Standards Followed by Kennison Forest Products
In addition to OSHA standards, some companies—such as Kennison Forest Products—also comply with other industry standards when designing and manufacturing their scaffolding components to ensure the safety of their customers.
At Kennison Forest Products, we’ve supplied high-quality scaffold planks that meet and exceed industry standards for over 30 years. Due to their superior strength and durability, scaffolding companies and contractors across the globe know they can rely on our products for their needs. Our planks meet all applicable OSHA/ANSI requirements and are independent third party inspected.
To learn more about scaffold and scaffolding safety standards, reach out your scaffolding training consultant for further information. To learn more about scaffolding options and how we can help provide scaffolding solutions for your next construction project, contact us or request a quote today.