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Scaffolding Legal Requirements in UAE

Scaffolding works or working on a scaffolding is a dangerous activity. So, all concerned regulatory authorities issue regulations, code of practice and guidelines to control the scaffolding works. Of course, it is true worldwide. However, this blog is to describe about the subject “Scaffolding legal requirements in the construction industry in UAE”. This blog covers scaffolding legal requirements in Dubai, Abudhabi, Sharjah, other emirates, freezones and authorities.There are different regulations for various municipalities ( Eg: Dubai Municipality, Abudhabi Municipality…etc) . Also, there are various scaffolding legal requirements for various authorities and freezones in UAE. For example, for authorities such as   Dubai Technology and Media Freezone Authority, Dubai Silicon Oasis. Similarly, for freezones like Port Custom and Freezone Corporation-Thrakees. Those who involve in the scaffolding works need to know these legal requirements so as to comply the law, and thereby, to avoid accidents.

If you are approaching a reputed scaffolding company in UAE for your work, they will take care of your scaffolding legal requirements. We will go through the blog “scaffolding legal requirements in the construction industry in UAE” in the following sessions. However, you may note that this blog is only to give you a general awareness about scaffolding legal requirements in UAE.

As I have said, different scaffolding legal requirements are applicable at different regions in UAE. Of course, all these are in line with the applicable federal laws.

In this blog, you can find the following scaffolding legal requirements in UAE in the order.

  • Firstly, Scaffolding Legal requirements at Abudhabi-U.A.E
  • Secondly, Scaffolding Legal Requirements of Dubai Municipality related to the construction Industry in UAE
  • Legal Requirements of Thrakhees-Dubai-U.A.E related to scaffolding
  • Scaffold Legal Requirements of DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre)-Dubai-U.A.E
  • Legal Requirements of Dubai Development Authority (DDA)-Dubai-UAE related to Scaffolding
  • Finally, Scaffolding Legal Requirements at Sharjah -UAE

These scaffolding legal requirements are applicable for all sectors in the construction in UAE . So, this includes all scaffolding contractors as well. If you assign a scaffolding contractor in UAE, they will take care of all scaffolding legal requirements. Most of the scaffolding contractors in UAE will take care of your scaffolding contracting as well as scaffolding Rental needs.

The OSHAD-SF (Abudhabi Occupational health and safety System Framework) has issued code of practice for scaffolding (COP 26-Scaffolding). It incorporate requirements set by OSHAD and sector regulatory in the Emirates of Abudhabi. This scaffolding legal requirements is applicable to all employers within the emirates of Abudhabi. Similarly, this COP applies to planning, assessment and control measures for the erection of scaffolding. In addition, it is applicable to the use, maintenance, alterations, and dismantling of scaffolding, inspection and maintenance of scaffolding.

This code of practice says in detail about the following requirements: –

  • Training and competency
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Principal Contractors
  • Employees
  • Planning and Assessment
  • Risk Assessment
  • Design of Scaffolding
  • Foundation
  • Ground Conditions
  • Loadings
  • Supporting Structure
  • Stability of Scaffolding
  • Design of Working Platform
  • Safe erection of scaffolding
  • Working Platforms
  • Types of scaffolding
  • Walkways
  • Landing Places
  • Access ,Egress
  • Scaffold alteration
  • Safe dismantling of scaffolding

You can download read the full Code of Practice of OSHAD from their website.

Dubai municipality have issued “code of construction Safety practice (COP)” to control the safety for all activities in the emirate of Dubai. The chapter-8 in this COP is about “Scaffolding safety”. It states about the scaffolding legal requirements in Dubai. The following are some of these requirements.

The above chapter-8 details about the scaffolding legal requirements in Dubai. The following are some of these requirements.

  • The erection, movement , dismantling, or alteration of all scaffolds shall be under the supervision of a competent persons and by skilled and experienced workers.
  • Each scaffold and scaffold component shall be capable of supporting, without failure, its own weight. Also, it should support at least 4 times the maximum intended load applied or transmitted to it.
  • No Scaffolds to erect or to use closer than 3 m (10 feet) near energized power lines. This helps to avoid any contact between the scaffold components and these power lines..
  • Supported scaffolds with a height to base width ratio of more than four to one (4:1) need to tie to the building structure vertically and horizontally. The first bottom tie to place no higher than four (4) times the minimum base width. And also, vertical ties to be at intervals not greater than 8 m (26 feet). Placing of horizontal ties to maintain at each end and at intervals not greater than 9 m (30 feet).
  • A third party , approved by Dubai municipality, shall inspect all supported and suspended scaffolds. And a proper certificate to issue by this company.

This chapter of “COP “says more about the scaffolding legal requirements related to the following:

  • Scaffolds Foundation
  • Scaffold Platform
  • Safe scaffolds to Scaffolds
  • Working Loads of Scaffolding
  • Height of Scaffolding and number of working Platforms
  • Scaffolds Materials
  • Erection of Scaffolds
  • Scaffold Ties
  • Inspection and Maintenance
  • Types of Scaffoldings

ScaffoldingLegal Requirements of Thrakhees-Dubai-UAE

Department of Planning and Development – Thrakhees is the regulatory arm of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in Dubai. This is the authority responsible for licensing and regulating businesses in special development zones and areas.

Thrakhees has its own safety regulation known as “Construction Safety Regulations ( RegulationNo:CS/001) .The “Section 9 “ of this regulation is about “Scaffolding”.

General Requirements of this regulations are:-

  • Competent scaffolders need to erect all scaffolding to the standards outlined in the Dubai Municipality Code of Construction Safety Practice.
  • All scaffolding must be fit for purpose. And lightweight scaffolding can be use only up to a maximum height of 10 metres only. That also, where no loading of materials onto the working platforms.
  • To erect the scaffolding by competent scaffolders assessed by 3rd party organisation approved by EHS.
  • The main contractor to appoint a suitably experienced ‘Scaffolding Supervisor’ who should have certified by a training organisation approved by EHS. The main contractor can erect scaffolding of total height not exceeding 10 meters.

This regulation details ,further, about the following:

  • Design of the Scaffolding
  • Erection of Scaffold over 10 meters
  • Prevention of Falling Materials and Objects
  • Inspection of Scaffolding
  • Tagging of scaffolding
  • Safe place of work
  • Requirements for Scaffolding Tower
  • Use of Safety Harness
  • Safe place and Safe person strategy

You can read regulation of Trakhees, in detail. Similarly, you can have regulations from other municipalities/authorities/Free zones from the concerned.

DMCC is a world’s No:1 free zone center of global commodities trading in Dubai. DMCC has issued “Health, Safety and Environment guidelines”. The section 9.10.3 of this guidelines describes about the Scaffold and work platforms.

In addition, this guideline says about the scaffolding erection, modification and dismantling, scaffolding inspection and tagging. It further says about the scaffolding inspection and tagging. Also, about the edge protection, safe access and uses of safety harness with lanyard.

You can read more and download the DMCC’s “Health, Safety and Environment guidelines” here.

The Section:8.0 of Health, safety and environment (HSE) regulations of DDA is about “Regulations of Scaffolds, Work platforms”.

The section 8.0 of this regulation detail the following:

  • General requirements
  • Provision of scaffoldings
  • Supervision of Work and Inspection of Material
  • Construction and Material
  • Defective Material
  • Maintenance of Scaffolds
  • Partly Erected or Dismantled Scaffolds
  • Standards, Uprights, Ledgers and Putlogs
  • Ladders used as Uprights in Scaffolds
  • Stability of Scaffolds
  • Slung Scaffolds
  • Cantilever, Jib, Figure and Bracket Scaffolds
  • Support for Scaffolds etc
  • Suspended Scaffolds
  • Boatswain’s Chairs, Cages, Skips etc. (Not Power operated)
  • Trestle scaffold
  • Inspection of Scaffolds, Boatswain’s Chair etc
  • Scaffolds used by workmen of different contractors
  • Construction of Working Platform, Gangways and Runs
  • Boards and Planks in Working Platforms, Gangways and Runs
  • Board or planks
  • Width of Gangways and Runs:
  • Guard-rails and Toe-boards at working platforms and places:
    • Toe-boards and Guard-railsare not required on
    • Guard-Rails for Gangways, Runs and Stairs
  • Platform, gangways, runs and stairs, etc to afford Safe Foothold
  • Loads on scaffolds
  • And finally, Prevention of falls and provision of Safety Nets

You can read and download the health, safety and environment (HSE) regulations of DDA here.

The Sharjah Prevention and safety authority (SPSA) has developed a system for health and safety. This Occupational Safety & Health Sharjah System is known as OSHJ System in short. This OSHJ system also, covers safety legal requirements related to scaffolding. The purpose of this system is to assist the safety of activities in the Emirate. The OSHJ system provides Codes of Practices and Guidelines with regard to many activities which includes safety of scaffolding also. It is worth to discuss about the codes of practice and guidelines related to the scaffolding. Undoubtedly, complying with these codes of practice and guidelines is equal to the complying scaffolding legal requirements. So, In the following session, we will narrate about the same related to the scaffolding legal requirements at Sharjah emirate.

SPSA has developed 20 codes of practice (COP) about various subjects. Out of these,  the COP No: 04 is about “working at height Safety”. This COP says generally about safety of all working at height which includes scaffolding also as a part of the subject. You can read and download Work at Height safety Code of practice here.

SPSA has issued 28 guidelines in total about various subjects including about scaffolding safety. Specifically, the guideline No: 3 is about scaffolding which specify the scaffolding legal requirements at Sharjah emirate of UAE.

The following are the some of the main requirements as per this guideline No:3.

Guidelines-Risk Assessment & Management of scaffolding

The design, use, maintenance and dismantling of scaffolding to undertake by either the entity or scaffolding contractor.

(1) In the case of entity carrying out the work, they must ensure the following.

The design, use, maintenance and dismantling of scaffolding to carry out by competent employees under the direction of a competent supervisor.

(2) In case of assignment to a scaffolding contractor , they must be competent to design, erect, maintain or dismantle scaffolding. In order to ensure this, there must be agreement between the entity and the scaffolding contractor . In addition, this agreement should clearly states who is responsible for scaffolding modification, maintenance and inspection and the fulfillment of other specific duties.

To manage scaffolding risks with effective control measures implemented so as to protect the safety and health of employees and others. The risk assessment should be based on the hazards specific to the type of scaffolding used.

The entity should select suitable scaffolding equipment based on a risk assessment. Of course, it should be according to the nature of the work to perform. Also, have to consider to withstand the intended loads and the height from which falls may occur.

Design of Scaffolding, Principles of design, Erection of scaffolding

The entity should ensure that all forms of scaffolding above 10 meters in height shall have design and calculation. And, of course, this has to be from a competent scaffolding engineer. This applies to non-standard scaffolding also. Further, the erection, alteration and dismantling of scaffolding above 10 meters height shall be as per the structural design drawing or manufacturer’s manual. Of course, it is the responsibility of the entity. The entity appointed designers shall ensure that design is safe to erect, maintain, use and dismantle the scaffolding. Also, to ensure that design of scaffolding matches for the intended purpose. The entity should ensure that during the erection of scaffolding all work activities comply with OSHJ-CoP-04: Work at Height Safety.

Safety of Scaffolders, Safety of employees and others

The entity must protect the scaffolders undertaking work activities from the risks of falling. Either by the provision and use of collective safeguards such as adequate working platforms and guard rails or, where this is not practicable. Or by the provision and use of safety nets or personal protective equipment. For example, such as suitable fall arrest systems, incorporating safety harnesses, lanyards and anchorages.

If the safe system of work specify the means of personal protection, then, we shall use personal protective equipment. Also, it is the responsibility of every employer to provide with adequate information, instruction, supervision and training .

Employees or members of the public may be at risk during the erection of scaffolding, including from the dropping of tools or scaffolding components. For this purpose, the entity should ensure adequate precautions, including the use of exclusion zones as identified by risk assessment. In this way , it helps to eliminate or reduce the risk.

Incomplete Scaffolding, Materials Working Platforms

The entity should construct scaffolding safely with properly tied, braced and decked and has adequate guardrails and toe-boards. Especially, If the scaffolding is for a place to which the public has access, the entity should ensure effective precautions. Thus, we can prevent members of the public from climbing the scaffolding. For Example, footpath scaffolding.

The entity should ensure the placing of adequate signs, at each access point, for the partly erected or dismantled scaffolding. Besides, it shall have barriers to prevent access. Also, to remove these signs when they are not in need. The entity should ensure the inspection of scaffolding materials prior to their use on site.

The entity should ensure working platforms are wide enough as well as sufficiently boarded to ensure safe passage of employees. They should also be capable of resisting the loads imposed upon them. For instance, like high wind loads that could dislodge the scaffold boards. The entity in control of the workplace must assess risk for potential adverse weather conditions.

The entity should ensure the scaffold erected is close to the finished structure as is practicable. More specifically, The maximum gap between the scaffold and the structure should be 225 mm. If the gap between the building and platform is greater than 225 mm, internal handrail need to provide.

It is true that above description of scaffolding requirements is only partial and not complete. So, you need to read the guideline fully to understand more. To comply the scaffolding legal requirements fully in Sharjah-UAE, you need to comply the full content of the guideline.

The following are the contents in this guideline.

  • Introduction, Purpose and Scope, Definitions and Abbreviations
  • Roles and Responsibilities
    • Entity Responsibilities
    • Employee Responsibilities
  • Guidelines
    • Risk Assessment
    • Management of Scaffolding ( Layout, Structural Design of Scaffolding ,Principles of Design)
  • Erection of Scaffolding
    • Safety of Scaffolders
    • Safety of Employees and Others
    • Incomplete Scaffolding
    • Materials
  • Working Platforms
    • Decking
    • Toe-Boards
    • Maximum Gap between the Building and the Platform
  • Guardrails
  • Falling Object Protection
  • Access to Scaffolding
    • Ladder Access to Scaffolding
    • Landing Places
  • Loading of Scaffolding
    • Loading Bays
    • Load Warning Signage
    • Loading Charts
  • Overhead Services
  • Erection on Public Streets/ Places 
    • Through Access 
    • Adjacent Parking or Traffic
  • Inspection and Handover
  • Use, Modification and Maintenance
    • Scaffolding Use
    • Modification of scaffolding
    • Scaffolding Maintenance
    • Inspection Before and During Use
  • Dismantling Scaffolding
  • Training
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • References
  • Document Amendment Record

You can read and download scaffolding guidelines here.

This guideline does not cover about mobile Towers. Also, a separate guideline is available about mobile access towers (Guideline-No:4)

Conclusion and disclaimer:

You have to note that this blog is not the full description of scaffolding legal requirements in UAE. But the purpose is to give you an awareness about the scaffolding legal requirements in construction industry in UAE. The legal requirements may change anytime. The author may update it the blog in future if he comes to know about any change of legal requirements. However, you need to refer the legal requirements, all the time, from the authorities directly and implement accordingly. The author will not be responsible for anything if anybody blindly consider this content as full and updated legal requirements. This legal requirement is applicable for all types of scaffolding in UAE.

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