#85 Scaffold Plank Condition

Title 8, Article 21, §1637 of the Cal/OSHA Construction Industry Safety Standards states that all scaffold lumber shall be visually inspected for defects before and during use. Defective lumber shall not be used.


The maximum permissible spans for 2 x 10 inch (nominal) planks are shown in the following table:


Working Load (pounds per square feet – psf)              25psf               50psf               75psf

Permissible Span (feet)              10ft                  8ft                    7ft


On a typical residential construction jobsite, scaffold systems are assembled from components that have been used many times before at many different locations. During tear-down, at the completion of one job, planks are often thrown from heights and roughly treated and stored before being transported to a new jobsite. Each plank will subsequently be used to support men and materials at the next site. Any defective components can result in serious personal injury. The sudden failure of a plank can abruptly cause a fall from several feet which is totally unexpected and will cause loss of balance, a fall, and an accident.


These accidents are predictable and can be avoided by thorough inspections – especially when being re-installed at a new work location.