It is somewhat surprising how creative workers can get when it involves scaffolding.  Just when it seems all the questions have been answered, along comes a question that raises an issue that was never addressed.  Challenge yourself to these questions and see if your answer agrees with the one given at the end of this article.

  1. Does a scaffold have to be designed by a qualified person?
  2. What is a qualified person?
  3. The OSHA regulations specify that a hole “means a gap or void 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more in its least dimension, in a floor, roof, or other walking/working surface”.  Is there a maximum size for a hole?
  4. What’s the average allowable leg load for a typical frame scaffold?
  5. When did the U.S. start OSHA?
  6. How strong is the typical 8-inch scaffold caster?
  7. Do scaffold users need training before using scaffolding?
  8. How many hours of training do scaffold erectors need before becoming erectors?
  9. Are cross-braces required on frame scaffolds?
  10. Are cross braces required on the inside of stucco/plasterers’ frame scaffolds?
  11. Can scaffold frames be used to hold up buildings?
  12. Is a scaffold stairway used to only access buildings still a scaffold?
  13. Is a scaffold without a platform still a scaffold?
  14. What is ANSI?
  15. Do scaffold users need to know how strong scaffolds are?
  16. What happens if you fall off a scaffold platform?
  17. Are scaffolds constructed in Utah always taller than any scaffolds erected in New York City?
  18. Which is more effective in a boom-lift; fall restraint or fall arrest?
  19. Can you use your grandmother’s clothesline to support a suspended scaffold?
  20. How long does it take to complete the OSHA 10-hour class?
  21. How many states have their own OSHA programs?
  22. Can you use bamboo scaffold in the United States?
  23. Can you use duct tape to “tie” a supported scaffold to the building?
  24. Is a “skip-plank” scaffold as strong as a fully planked scaffold?
  25. Which is gooder (gooder is better than good but not as good as better): Steel or wood?
  26. Can you use balsa wood or Styrofoam® for a scaffold platform?
  27. If you are standing behind the guardrail at the edge of the 50th floor of a building, and you hook your lanyard to the guardrail, are you violating any regulations?
  28. How far away from a 53,780-volt electric line do you need to stay, according to OSHA?
  29. What’s a competent person, according to OSHA?
  30. Are you competent?  

So, how do you think you did?  Here are the answers:

  1. Yes.
  2. “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 ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work, or the project.
  3. There is none specified so I suppose it could be a couple of miles by a couple of miles!
  4. 2,251.269234567712935461 pounds.  How about if we just say 2,250 pounds?
  5. President Nixon signed the law on and made it effective December 29, 1970.
  6. 500 pounds unless it’s a cheap knock-off.  Then who knows — feeling lucky?
  7. Of course they do.  How many actually do?
  8. There is no minimum requirement (or maximum either).  I’ve been involved for 91,520 hours and I’m still learning the subject.  What about you?
  9. Yes, if you don’t want the scaffold to collapse, or at least not exceed the safe load.
  10. Yes, if you don’t want the scaffold to collapse, or at least not exceed the safe load.
  11. Yes.
  12. No. It’s a construction stairway.
  13. No.
  14. What you feel when you have to go the bathroom.  It also stands for the American National Standards Institute.
  15. Of course they do.  I wonder how many do?
  16. It depends on how far you fall but the odds are real good that it will hurt or kill you.
  17. Yes.  The shortest Utah scaffold is still at least 2,000 feet higher than a scaffold in New York City, even if you construct it in Beaver Dam Wash, Utah. (Think about it)
  18. Fall restraint; you don’t want to come out of the basket due to the cantilever effect.
  19. Sure you can if Grandma didn’t damage the rope and you know how strong it is.  However, I wouldn’t recommend it since Grandma may not be on top of her game.
  20. Two days. (I’m not kidding; you are not allowed to finish it in one day, per OSHA.)
  21. Twenty-six states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans. Twenty-two State Plans (21 states and one U.S. territory) cover both private and state and local government workplaces. The remaining six State Plans (five states and one U.S. territory) cover state and local government workers only.
  22. Sure.  It just has to be constructed and used in compliance with the applicable standards.
  23. Why not?  Won’t do you much good but go ahead—you get to explain why you did that.
  24. Of course it isn’t.  It’s half as strong since you only have half the plank.
  25. They both have advantages and disadvantages.  It depends on a lot of factors including cost, strength, size, environmental conditions, etc.
  26. Yes, but I bet it would be pretty big pieces of material.
  27. No, unless you are going to climb over the guardrail and jump off the building.
  28. 10 feet, 21/32-inches away.  Do not measure that with a metal tape measure!
  29. “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.
  30. Being competent is a lot different than being the competent person.  The first is your state of mind, the second being a specific individual.  You can be incompetent but you cannot be an incompetent person.

Well, there you have it.  Grading on the curve, if you got all the questions correct, you looked at the answers!  If you got none correct, you should have looked at the answers!