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What Are Scaffolding Planks Made Of?

What Are Scaffolding Planks Made Of?
Issue Time:2018-05-14
Scaffolding ladders can be loose and movable or built into the scaffolding structure. Ladders scaffolding are most often used for tower scaffolding. Scaffolding ladders are never used on the scaffold staging platforms - this is extremely dangerous. Scaffolding ladders are not known for their safety even on level or stable ground surfaces. Some pump jack scaffolds have scaffolding ladders built in. These are part of the frame structure and add strength to the scaffolds as well as giving the capability for the worker to easily climb to the next higher platform. Scaffolding planks plat a vital part in any scaffolding structure. 

Scaffolding Tools And Planks

Scaffolding tools are mostly made of steel although a few scaffolding tools are made partially of titanium for lightness and strength. The gripping section of the tool is still made of steel 

Scaffolding planks generally come in 20 foot lengths although shorter 10 foot lengths may be ordered. If there is a need for custom lengths, due to building dimensions, special planks may be ordered although the cost is almost double. According to US labor statistics, more scaffold accidents are attributed to planking giving way than any other cause. Additionally, almost 25% of the workers have received no safety training for erecting scaffolds and installing scaffolding planks platforms and the accompanying wooden scaffolding ladders. The use of ladders for scaffolding has diminished in the last decade. 

Scaffold Planks Need To Be Of A Good Quality

The scaffold planking portion of the OSHA Scaffolding eTools is intended to address the need for specific and accurate information about the single most critical scaffolding component: the lumber from which scaffold planks and platforms are made. Scaffold-grade lumber is meant to withstand forces not imposed on ordinary, construction-grade wood (which is only two-thirds the capacity of scaffold-grade). Using construction-grade lumber for planks on a scaffold platform not only violates OSHA standards, but is also an unsafe practice and an invitation to a deadly accident. 

The quality of scaffold-grade plank lumber is measured as follows: 

 by the number of rings per inch (6 or more) 

 the slope of the grain (1 inch to the side for every 16 inches along the length of the board for Douglas Fir 1 inch to 14 inches for Southern Pine) and the number of defects, such as knots and notches.

Solid sawn wood used for a scaffolding plank should follow the grading rules of a recognized lumber grading association or an independent lumber inspection agency, and be identified by that agency or association's grade stamp. With these criteria for scaffold planks, most scaffold builders and users have opted for metal planks. The top grade lumber for a scaffolding plank is almost unattainable with the current US and International forestation practices and grading criteria. Aluminum scaffolding planks are made of SAE or ISO Grade metal and readily available in North America and in Europe.