Does "Subpart L - Scaffolds" Apply to You?

Subpart L provides the standards for scaffolds and aerial lifts used in construction. It does not apply to crane or derrick suspended personnel platforms. The scope, application and definitions applicable to this subpart provides key definitions used in this subpart such as:

Competent person means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

Scaffold means any temporary elevated platform (supported or suspended) and its supporting structure (including points of anchorage), used for supporting employees or materials or both.

Qualified means one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or who by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to solve or resolve problems related to the subject matter, the work, or the project.

Do you use scaffolds of any type? Do you use aerial lifts? If yes to either question, click on the tabs below for more information.


Do your employees use scaffolds?

Do your employees use scaffolds?

If yes then you need to comply the standard on general requirements which covers load capacity, scaffold platform construction, criteria for supported scaffolds and suspension scaffolds, scaffold access (i.e., ladders, personnel hoists), use of scaffolds (i.e., design, clearance around power lines, weather), fall protection (i.e., guardrail systems, lifelines), and falling object protection (i.e., toeboards, canopies, guardrails).

You will also need to comply with the additional requirements applicable to specific types of scaffolds standard which covers specific requirements for pole scaffolds, tube and coupler scaffolds, fabricated frame scaffolds, bricklayers' square scaffolds, horse scaffolds, form scaffolds and carpenters' bracket scaffolds, roof bracket scaffolds, outrigger scaffolds, pump jack scaffolds, ladder jack scaffolds, window jack scaffolds, crawling boards, step, platform, and trestle ladder scaffolds, single-point adjustable suspension scaffolds, two-point adjustable suspension scaffolds, multi-point adjustable suspension scaffolds, stonesetters' multi-point adjustable suspension scaffolds, and masons' multi-point adjustable suspension scaffolds, catenary scaffolds, float (ship) scaffolds, interior hung scaffolds, needle beam scaffolds, multi-level suspended scaffolds, repair bracket scaffolds, and stilts. This standard also states that scaffolds that are not specifically addressed in this standard, such as but not limited to systems scaffolds, must meet the general requirements for scaffolds.

The specific requirements of the standard, additional requirements applicable to specific types of scaffolds, are dependent on type of scaffold, but pertain to requirements regarding bracing, bearers, runners, designs (by registered professional engineer), outrigger beams, guardrails and fall protection, ladders (reference stairways and ladders), platforms, qualified persons, ropes, bridge connections, hoists, casters and wheels, riding scaffolds, brackets, and providing proper maintenance to stilts. 

You will also need to comply with the standard on training requirements. It supplements and clarifies the training required by the standard on safety training and education, paragraph (b)(2). The training requirements standard provides the requirement that training be provided by a person qualified in the subject matter and includes the topics to be covered in the training. It also requires that each employee who is involved in erecting, disassembling, moving, operating, repairing, maintaining, or inspecting a scaffold be trained by a competent person to recognize any hazards associated with the work in question and includes the topics to be covered in the training. Lastly, it requires retraining when there is reason to believe that an employee lacks the skill or understanding needed for safe work involving the erection, use or dismantling of scaffolds.

The appendices to this subpart cover the following: appendix A pertains to scaffold specifications; appendix C provides a list of national consensus standards; appendix D provides a list of training topics for scaffold erectors and dismantlers; and appendix E provides drawings and illustrations.

The NCDOL Library is available for assistance regarding access to consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, ASME, NFPA, IEEE). In addition, more information can be found on the A-Z topics pages for scaffolds and fall protection.

Do employees use aerial lifts?

Do employees use aerial lifts?

If yes, then you need to comply with the standard on aerial lifts. Aerial lifts include the following types of vehicle-mounted aerial devices used to elevate personnel to jobsites above ground:

  • Extensible boom platforms;
  • Aerial ladders;
  • Articulating boom platforms;
  • Vertical towers; and
  • A combination of any such devices. Note: Aerial equipment may be made of metal, wood, fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), or other material; may be powered or manually operated; and are deemed to be aerial lifts whether or not they are capable of rotating about a substantially vertical axis.

It provides requirements for aerial lifts that are "field modified", and specific requirements pertaining to securing of aerial ladders for highway travel, extensible and articulating boom platforms (i.e., testing lift controls, authorized person operating aerial lift, use of body belts, load limits, use of brakes and wheel chocks, lift insulation, inspections, other safety procedures), electrical tests (references consensus standards), bursting safety factors for critical hydraulic and pneumatic components (references consensus standards), and references welding consensus standards. 

The NCDOL Library is available for assistance regarding access to consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, ASME, NFPA, IEEE). In addition, more information can be found on the A-Z topics pages for aerial lifts and fall protection.