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How to make scaffolding Risk Assessment-A complete informative guide


This blog is about the risk assessment of scaffolding. It details about the need of why we have to conduct risk assessment for scaffolding. Also, explains about the various terms used for the risk assessment of scaffolding as well as legal requirements. On reading this blog, you will get better idea about risk assessment of scaffolding . The risk assessment of scaffolding shall cover all activities on scaffolding. For example, Installation of scaffolding, dismantling of scaffolding, working near scaffolding. Etc. So, let us go in detail below.

What is the purpose of risk Assessment of scaffolding?

If we do not take safety of our activities during scaffolding work, it is dangerous. It can cause serious accidents resulting fatalities and serious injuries. So, in order to avoid such accidents, we have to plan in advance about the risks and control measures. This is where a scaffolding risk assessment is important. In short, the following are the purpose of risk assessment.

  • To identify health and safety hazards and evaluate the risks of scaffolding work.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness and suitability of existing control measures
  • Ensure the implementation of additional controls (including procedural) wherever the remaining risk is anything other than low.
  • To prioritise further resources if needed to ensure the above.

So, the whole purpose of risk assessment is to control the risks so that we can carry out the work safely. The first attention is to remove the risk by eliminating the hazard. But, in most cases, it is not possible to eliminate the hazards . In such situations, we can control the hazards so as to reduce the risk. 

As an employer, you need  to protect your employees and others from harm. This includes the following:

  • Identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
  • Decide how likely someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
  • Take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk.

Assessment of risk is just one part of the overall process to control risks in your workplace. This is what a risk assessment does. If you are concerned with the scaffolding in UAE, you can read the blog scaffolding legal requirements in UAE.

Before we discuss about the actual risk assessment of scaffolding, we need to explain basic things. It is very important to understand about the hazard, risk, Risk Ratings…etc

Explanation of Hazard, Risk and Risk Rating

Hazard and Risk

Before you advance further about the risk assessment of scaffolding, you have to understand hazard and risk. Nobody can do a risk assessment of scaffolding without knowing the concerned hazard and risk. Normally, people have confusion between the words, Hazard and Risk. Some use these terms with the same meaning. So,  it is better to say few words about these terms. Hazard means something which can cause harm to the people , like injury, death…etc. Hazard can also cause property damages . In short, a hazard has the potential to cause death, injury, damage or other loss. The outcome of hazard is the RISK. Or, in other words, when a hazard gets realized, the result is the risk.

For example, consider a scaffolding without edge protection handrail around the platform.  If somebody stands on this platform, there are more chances that he may fall down. What happens then ? He may get injured or may die even. In this case, a scaffolding without edge protection handrail has  caused harm to this person. So, the scaffolding without edge protection handrail is a hazard. Here, what is the outcome of the hazard. The harm is injury or death by falls. This is the risk that can result from this hazard.

Severity of Hazard and Probability of Risk

But, what about the severity of this particular risk in the above example?  Is it sure that severity of this RISK is always high, say fatality or low like minor injury in this case?  No, we cannot definitely say it clearly. It is a chance of low, medium or high. In the same way, taking the same example, think about the probability of happening this RISK always. Definitely, the probability can also vary in different situations. In some case, people may fall, sometimes “No”. So, when we talk about RISK, there are two important factors to consider. It is the SEVERITY of HAZARD & PROBABILITY OF RISK. In other words, a risk calculates how likely someone get hurt, and how severely. Now you know what is hazard and what is risk. Definitely, this will help you to make a risk assessment for scaffolding.

Risk Rating

How we will evaluate the magnitude of risk? Without evaluating the magnitude of risk, we cannot say that RISK is within the allowed limits or not. In some situations, you may feel it as complicated. For example, Severity of a Hazard is high. But, likelihood of risk is very Low. In the same way, Likelihood or probability of risk is high, but the Severity of hazard is very low. In such cases, how we can have a combined effect of RISK value. Yes, there is a way. We assign a numerical value to the SEVERITY and PROBABILITY of each hazard based on some standard considerations. Normally, we include these conditions in the form of a RISK MATRIX along with the risk assessment. Multiplying these values, we get the magnitude of RISK, which is nothing but RISK RATING.


This is very much useful while preparing any risk assessments including scaffolding risk assessment.

A sample of RISK MATRIX is as follows:

Risk Matrix
Risk Matrix for scaffolding Risk Assessment

Preparation of Scaffolding Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is a primary management tool to ensure the health and safety of workers and others. There are no fixed rules on how a risk assessment to carry out. But the following general five steps of risk assessment is useful to do your scaffolding risk assessment. They are as follows:

  • Identify the Hazards
  • Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures
  • Record your findings and implement them
  • Review your assessment and update if necessary

Who is responsible for the completion of risk assessment of scaffolding?

It is the responsibility of the employer to carry out the risk assessment of scaffolding at work . The employer can appoint someone with the relevant knowledge, experience and skills to do so. Normally, safety engineers help the management in this matter. However, the ultimate responsibility goes to the management. If you are in UAE, you can contact your scaffolding contractor in UAE for scaffolding risk assessment. The person carrying out the activity shall involve fully in the preparation of risk assessment of scaffolding. Because he is the best person who can provide details on the hazard and associated risks.

Please find the template of scaffolding risk assessment

Scaffolding Risk Assessment Template
For doing scaffolding risk assessment

Communication and Review of Scaffolding Risk Assessment

The next step is to communicate the risk assessment content to all relevant parties. This help all to take adequate control measures on time. We have to review the risk assessment of scaffolding periodically. If you have any doubt about it, contact any scaffolding company in UAE. Especially, it is important when any significant changes happen to the activity or risk. Also, need to review the risk assessment of scaffolding following an accident or incident. This helps to verify the control measures and level of residual risk. Example: collapse of scaffolding, fall of person from scaffolding or modification of scaffolding.

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