How Wide Should Scaffolding Platforms and Walkways Be?

May 1, 2019

Stomping across decking boards in steel-toed work boots, it's obvious that not every individual who's working on-high can boast catlike reflexes. That's one reason for keeping scaffolding platforms wide. Just picture the scene. Those fully boarded terraces need to be wide enough to safely allow a number of workers to go about their daily work assignments. Broad and flat, the decking permits enough room for an unsteady employee to spread his legs.

Facts And Figures: Scaffolding Platform Widths

Different nations use alternative planking widths. In some countries, expect a 46-cm (18-inch) safety corridor. Other international limits set this value at a 43-cm minimum. For an Australian work site, the scaffolding erected by a staging technician should be at least 45-cm wide. Generally speaking, this broadness quotient averages out at around a 44-to-45-cm minimum width. Tools and building materials can be situated safely on work decking when these dimensional limits are applied, as can that safe corridor of highly trafficked operative-mobilizing space. Moving into position or squatting down to do a job, the platform and walkway space minimums keep even the wobbliest workers safe and sure-footed. Just as a by-the-way, if an employee still feels wobbly, perhaps they should talk to their foreman, for an inner ear issue might be impairing their sense of balance.

Building A Safe and Stable Corridor

Arguably speaking, this is the most important part of the staging tower, at least that's how the employees will perceive matters. The ladders and walkways must consistently adhere to that 45-cm width minimum, with their inner planks maintaining a well-maintained appearance. The gaps between the boards also have assigned width limits. To comply with those limits, the installation team and erection inspectors make sure the distance between the planks never exceeds the 10-mm maximum. Remember, larger gaps can create a sense of unsteadiness. Almost as bad, those slitted gaps will bring about potentially dangerous building material fall hazards. Okay, a brick won't fall through a wide gap, but perhaps a lightweight hammer or a heavy roof tile will slip through the gap. That's a possibility that cannot be allowed to continue, not while employees are on the ground or on the next level below.

First things first, says a competent scaffolding erection professional. The erection process commences, a strong and steady staging tower assembles, and all fall protection measures are fitted. Next on the agenda, there are those multi-level safety corridors to establish. The boards have to be uniform, and they have to be less than 10-mm apart. Finally, with the guard rails and toe guards also fitted, the 45-cm minimum walkway platform width is confirmed. With that work area width set, tools, building materials and workers coexist safely.

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