Workplace Safety Guides

   Swinging or Suspension Scaffolds


The swinging scaffold or two point suspension scaffold, is a platform not less then 20 inches nor more then 36 inches wide overall. It is supported at each end by metal hangers or frames designed to incorporate guardrails, toeboards, and a hoist mechanism. Swinging scaffolds are suspended from overhead anchorage points by either wire or manila rope which must be capable of supporting at least six times the intended load.

Roof irons or other supporting devices which fit over the edge of a building as anchorage points, must be made of wrought iron, mill steel, or other equivalent material of proper size and design, securely installed and anchored. Tiebacks of 3/4-inch manila rope or equivalent, shall serve as a secondary means of anchorage and should be installed whenever possible at right angles to the face of the building and secured to a structurally sound portion of the building.

The sheaves, wall blocks, and the hoisting mechanism must fit the size of rope used. All ropes, wire and fiber, hangers, platforms, and other supporting parts, shall be inspected before every installation and every time it is used. Two-point suspension scaffolds must also be securely latched to the building or structure to prevent them from swaying due to winds or work activity.

Two-point suspension scaffolds are designed for a total working load limit of 500 pounds or a limit of two workers on a scaffold at one time. Due to the stress of constant movement by workers, the entire scaffold must be designed and capable of carrying four times the rated load. In addition, the supporting ropes or cables must be capable of supporting six times the rated load.

All hoisting mechanisms must be approved by the Underwriters Laboratory or the Factory Mutual Company. Employees working on suspended scaffolds must use a safety belt or preferably a harness with a lanyard attached to an overhead independent lifeline to provide fall protection. This is because the hoisting mechanism or supporting devices could fail.

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