A scaffold is defined as any temporary elevated platform (supported or suspended) and its supporting structure (including points of anchorage), used for supporting employees or materials or both.


Tab/Accordion Items

What are the hazards associated with scaffolds?

The major hazard associated with the use of any scaffold is serious injury or death due to falling from an elevated level as a result of absent or incomplete fall protection, improper placement of the scaffold or lack of training in the proper use of the type of scaffold involved.

What can I do to protect myself?

Never get onto a scaffold unless it has been inspected by a competent person to ensure that it has been properly assembled and is acceptable for the purpose for which it is to be used. Never use a scaffold at work unless you have been trained in its proper use.

When mast climbing work platforms are used, they must be erected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. In particular, the free standing height of the mast and the magnitude of the loads placed on the platform cannot exceed what is permitted by the manufacturer. In addition, the manufacturer must be consulted for the proper load chart when using a non-standard configuration. For more information, reference the following report, Investigation of the March 23, 2015 Mast Climbing Scaffold Collapse during Dismantling at Raleigh, NC.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Safety and Health Programs

An example fall protection training certificate can be used to document employer's training. The fall protection plan for residential construction can be downloaded and customized to fit an individual work setting. This example program is based on information found in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart M (Fall protection), in particular 29 CFR 1926.501 and 1926.502. 

Training and Outreach Services

The scaffolds and fall protection in construction  presentations can be used to assist employers in conducting training for their employees. These presentations should be customized to address the types of scaffolds to be used, as well as the workplace conditions in which they will be used. These pre-recorded webinars on scaffolds and fall protection in construction can also be accessed at any time.

In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. 

Further, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC).

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

The A-Z topics page on fall protection and aerial lifts can provide more resource information. 

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.

Which standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards for scaffolds in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

Maritime, Shipyard Employment


Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Where can I learn more?

Industry Guides

Fact Sheets

Compliance Documents

  • Compliance Directive: CPL 02-01-023 establishes enforcement policy regarding the use of scaffolds in construction and provides an explanation of the associated standards to ensure uniform enforcement.

  • Standards Notice (SN) 24 provides clarification of the application of 29 CFR 1926.451 (General requirements) to conditions that may be observed at job sites to ensure uniform enforcement of the standard.

Investigation Reports

Technical Assistance

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to or by calling 919-707-7876.