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Hazards of Scaffolding and Ladder


This subject of this blog ” Hazards of scaffolding or Scaffolding Hazards” is very relevant in today’s construction industry. Because, controlling the scaffolding hazards are very important to reduce or eliminate the accidents related to scaffolding. Also, legal requirements demands it. In this blog, we will  list out all major  common hazards of scaffolding and ladder. In addition, we will consider hazards of scaffolding and  ladder separately also. Along with the hazards, we will  describe briefly about the related control measure to mitigate the hazards. This blog is not only about the scaffolding in UAE, but applicable for all the scaffolding anywhere in the world.

Major Risks  of Scaffolding and Ladder

For Scaffolding and Ladder : Fall of persons or fall of material from height – which can cause Disability , fatality or serious injury. This is the main hazards of scaffolding and ladder while  carrying out works on scaffolding.

For Scaffolding     : Collapse of working platform through overloading – which can cause disability, Head injuries, Body injuries and fatalities. Even though this  does not happen on daily basis, this  hazard of  scaffolding has high potential for accident.

Also, the collapse of entire scaffolding  structure : This can lead to major injuries or fatalities . This hazard of scaffolding happen , especially, if the safe method not followed during construction and dismantling.

For Ladders   :  Collapse or slipping of ladder is another main type of hazard of ladder.

Various Hazards of Scaffolding or Scaffolding Hazards

The following are various  hazards of  scaffolding:

Erection of  scaffolding :

We shall follow safe working procedure while erecting scaffolding. Otherwise, the scaffolding can collapse during installation.  Or, the scaffolders may fall down to cause injury. So, activity “erection of scaffolding “ is a hazard. An incorrectly built scaffold runs a risk of collapse. If your scaffolding work is in UAE, it is always advisable to appoint a specialised scaffolding company in UAE.

Dismantling of scaffolding :

This activity is very dangerous. Because, if we dismantle scaffolding in a wrong way, it can collapse. For example , removing all bracing completely before the removal of other components , removal of scaffolding tie…etc. So,  improper way of scaffolding dismantling is a main hazard.

Lack of  guard rails/ No Toe boards :

The guard rails helps to safeguard the workers  from falling. So, lack of guardrail is another scaffolding  hazard which cause the fall of  workers.

No sufficient bracings  : 

sufficient bracing is a requirement for the stability of scaffolding. Definitely, the insufficient bracing can contribute for the scaffolding  collapse.

Inadequate access/egress to working platform :  

Proper safe access and egress shall be available to reach to the platform. Otherwise, workers will try to climb on the scaffolding through unsafe way. This can lead to accident. So, lack of proper access /egress arrangement is a hazard.

Unsecured ladder :

The access ladder to secure properly to make it stable. Otherwise, ladder can slip and fall causing injury.

No full boarded plat form or Unsupported scaffold boards :

  If there is any gap at the platform, the worker may falls through this. So, the platform shall be without any gap. In other words, with full boarded platform. In the same way, The platform needs  supports from bottom to avoid collapse.

Overloading of Platform :

Several accidents happen due to the collapse of scaffolding platform. The main reason for this is overloading of platform due to excess materials. So, this is a scaffolding hazard or called as hazard of scaffolding,  which can cause injury.

Unsecured scaffolding : 

If the scaffolding structure  not secured to the permanent structure , it may collapse. This can cause major injuries and fatalities . So, always secure scaffolding firmly to eliminate this scaffolding hazard.

Struck by falling objects:

Even though we take precautions  to avoid fall of objects, still there are chances to happen it. This scaffolding hazard has high potential to cause major injuries including fatalities. For example, Items dropped from higher elevations could injure those on lower platforms or on the ground.

Scaffolding Installation near power lines :

Scaffolds built near to powerlines put the workers at the risk of electric shock. So,  scaffolding erected near to electric power lines is a major scaffolding hazard. As per scaffolding legal requirements in UAE, a distance of ten feet clearance required between scaffold and powerlines.

Movement of mobile or rolling scaffolding :

Moving or pushing a mobile scaffolding while workers on the scaffolding is very dangerous. Because, if we move scaffolding like this, it can collapse to cause accidents.


Please note that hazards and risks  explained in this blog is not the full list. The author not responsible for any exclusions. However, this blog  will definitely  give you an idea about the general hazards of scaffolding  and ladder. But, the control measures not included in this blog.  You need to refer to risk assessment prior to undertaking scaffolding works. When you assign scaffolding works to a scaffolding contractor in UAE, they take care of  risk assessment too.

Major Hazards of Ladder or Ladder Hazards

 When we talk about the hazards of ladder, it is better to consider it under the three main headings

Selection of  Wrong ladder :

When it comes to safety, choosing the right tool is  a basic requirement. Of course, this is true about ladders too. For example, if you choose a metallic ladder for electrical works, it is dangerous. It can cause electric shock. So, selecting a wrong ladder for the works is a hazard of ladder. Similarly,  choosing correct length of ladder, weight , load capacity…etc are also important

Use of Damaged or Worn out ladder:

If we use damaged or  defective ladders, it can collapse anytime causing injury. In general, each equipment has a shelf life, including ladders. Defective ladders can also cause fall of worker without collapse of ladder. For instance, consider the case of a defective rung of a ladder . When the worker steps onto a defective rung , the rung may break . As a result, the  user may fall down.  So, this hazard of ladder is important to consider.

Incorrect placement and use of ladder:

Incorrect placement of ladder  is also a main ladder hazard. I can give few of the following  examples for the incorrect placement of ladder.

  • Using ladder without maintaining  3 points of contact.
  • Placing a ladder in front of a open door .
  • Ladder not secured at the top as well as at the bottom
  • Altering a ladder to increase length or any other modification
  • Placing the ladder at wrong   angle.
  • Trying to overreach on the ladder…etc

Disclaimer and conclusion

The author has included all major hazards of scaffolding and ladder for the interest of reader. However, in actual practice, there may be many other additional hazards depending on the situation or types of work. So,  you may need to conduct detailed risk assessment of scaffolding before  start the job.

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