Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When Are Outriggers Required On My Baker Scaffold?

First of all, what are outiggers?  Outriggers are components that get attached to a scaffold base to help prevent it from tipping.  OSHA requirements call for outriggers or securing a scaffold whenever you are exceeding a 4 to 1 height to base width ratio.  This would mean that if you are on a 5' wide scaffold tower and your platform height is 20' or higher, you would then have to install outriggers on the scaffold or secure the scaffold to the structure to prevent the scaffold from possibly tipping.  Baker scaffolds are narrower than the heavy duty frame type scaffolds.  The baker type scaffolds that International Decorators owns are 29" wide.  Our baker scaffolds have a manufacturer requirement that is more stringent that the OSHA outrigger requirement for scaffolds used at construction sites.  Our baker scaffold manufacturer requirements call for outriggers to be used whenever you are double stacking or triple stacking sections to create a scaffold tower.  The highest you are allowed to erect a baker type scaffold tower is 3 sections high which is approximately 18' high.  So the next time you find that you are double stacking or triple stacking your baker scaffolds meaning that your platform height is going to exceed the 6' height, you are required to install outriggers or secure your scaffold to the structure. 
Do I need to install outriggers on all 4 sides of my baker scaffold?  You do if you are not close to a wall.  If your scaffold is out in the open area of a room or building and your scaffold could possibly tip in any direction, you would then be required to install outriggers on both sides of your scaffold meaning that you would need 4 outriggers.  If your scaffold is set up close to a wall, the wall will act as your outrigger and prevent you from tipping towards the wall, so in this case, you would just need to install 2 outriggers on the scaffold opposite of the side of the wall. 
Below is a photo showing carpenter, Kent Cutshall, using outriggers on his baker scaffold.  Kent's scaffold is not double stacked and his platform is below the 6' height, so outriggers would not be required.  However, Kent chose to install outriggers as a safety precaution since he is using force against the structure to drill holes in the structural steel.  Kent is also using safety rails to prevent falls and he appropriately has all 6 wheels locked.  Great job - Kent!