Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Sectional Scaffolding Basics


     By Jay Consulting-Oceanside, California-Litigation Support Scaffold Accident Forensic Engineers Expert Witness

PhoneCall John Schueler, P.E. at (760) 724-6101


The author describes sectional scaffolding in which his expertise is essential for the attorney in determining causation of injuries suffered by workers.
Steel sectional scaffolding has been used for over 100 years in the United States. Most people will recognize it as staging that is used to clad a residence with paneling or stucco. Unfortunately, many of the 500 or so fatalities suffered by workers who have fallen from elevations were also working on scaffolds.In industrial and commercial construction, this type of scaffold is built to heights over 125'. In these cases, the OSHA requirement is that the scaffold be designed and signed off by a registered professional engineer, with specific load limits and leg support design.

Scaffold designs are based upon the manufacturer's load limits and OSHA regulations. Many of OSHA rules are easily obtained on-line, they are guides to the qualifications of project management and workers who erect and use this equipment.OSHA's 29 C.F.R. 1926 Subpart L covers much of scaffold approved use.

Basic rules that apply include inspection by a "competent person" who is delegated to check at all shift changes the scaffold condition, including maximum load recommendations.This individual must have the authority to order immediate corrections as he determines.

In addition to the "competent person", the project superintendent and manager are called upon to carry out regular project inspections, and further accident prevention is afforded by weekly tailgate meetings with the subcontracors to discuss "near misses", as well as general accident prevention.

Essentially, a sectional scaffold consists of mud-sills that sit on an adequate support, base jacks, legs & bracing, sidewall brackets and planking together with safety railing and toe-boards. Workers should be provided with fall-protection if there is any risk of unsafe conditions.

Defective platform construction, inadequate safety railings, improper post connections, and lack of approved wall-tying combined with poor design resulting in excessive platform loading are the principle causes of worker injuries.

Any scaffold damage caused by impact from a machine operating in it's vicinity must necessitate the evacuation of the platform crew, the repair under the supervision of an appropriately qualified person, together with the removal from the project of any damaged equipment.

Finally, we have been called upon by law firms throughout the United States, to assist in determining causation of injuries suffered by workers who were hurt because many of the above OSHA Regulations were not adhered to by responsible contractors.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Schueler, P.E.
John Schueler, P.E. has consulted with law firms throughout the United States since 1984 as expert witness at all court levels. He has many years of experience in the design of scaffolding. He is employed as a consultant in a wide range of litigation involving construction injuries.

Copyright Jay Consulting-Oceanside, California-Litigation Support

More information about Jay Consulting-Oceanside, California-Litigation Support


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

Find an Expert Witness