Application guidance notes - Erect scaffolding (S169)

Section 5 - Scaffold licence guidance notes

These guidance notes are prepared for your assistance when applying for a licence to place scaffolding in/on the public highway.

Health and safety

In addition, ESH will require a clear and exact site plan including the position and location of all safety barriers and information sign.  If you need to carry out works at several points within close proximity, we may licence these under one application, although this will be at the discretion of ESH.

ESH may inspect the site at any time during the operation.  If the operation does not adhere to the agreed and accepted conditions and traffic management requirements, our Officer(s) may instruct the Scaffold Company and or Scaffold supervisor to shut down the operation until the problem is resolved.

In cases where the agreed scaffold set up or traffic management plan differs grossly from that which was agreed and/or poses a potential danger to persons or property, an officer of ESH will instruct the operation supervisor to immediately and safely close down the operation and leave the site.  Discussions will then be held between the Scaffold company and ESH at a later date to re-schedule the operation.

Only qualified and competent Scaffold staff members are to be used on site during the erection and dismantling of any licensed scaffold.

It is the Scaffold company’s responsibility to ensure that all relevant checks have been carried out regarding statutory undertaker underground apparatus.

Scaffold guidance

The erection and dismantling of scaffolds remains a high-risk activity, not only for those carrying out the works, but to other workers and the general public.  The following information sets out steps which need to be considered by anyone involved in such work.  It is aimed not only at those working directly in the scaffolding industry but also to clients, planning supervisors and principal contractors.

The law and planning for safety

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996
  • Management of Health and Safety at Works regulations 1999
  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002
  • Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

This guidance is not designed to explain the details in the above legislation, however, it is important to remember that a wide range of people from clients through to the self-employed have legal responsibilities.  In simple terms the law requires that scaffolding operations are properly planned and then, carrying forward the results of the planning, to ensure the work is carried out safely on site.

Protection of the public

When scaffolding operations are in progress, the public must be excluded from both the area of work and as sufficient space around it.  Steps to ensure this will include:

  • Obtaining a temporary pavement or street closure whilst the operations are carried out
  • Undertaking operations in ‘quiet hours’ i.e. early morning, at night or at weekends
  • Incorporating fans, crash decks and tunnels as early as possible into a scaffold
  • Erecting barriers and signs diverting the public away from operations
  • Storing scaffold clips and other loose materials are safely stored on the scaffold
  • Not raising or lowering materials over members of the public or other site workers
  • Provision of proper access along pavements during hoarding operations to meet the needs of people with any form of disability

Working at height

Scaffolders must follow safe working practice to prevent people or objects falling.  This is so as follows:

  • When lifting or lowering materials, scaffolders must be clipped on or working within a handling platform that is fully boarded, with double guardrails and toe boards.
  • A minimum of 3 board working platform together with a single guardrail is provided as erecting and dismantling works progress
  • Safety harnesses to be worn at all times by scaffolders and fitted with a 1.75m length of lanyard and a 55mm opening scaffold hook or similar for one handed operation
  • Harnesses should be clipped onto a secure anchorage point where falls of 4 metres or more are possible

A secure anchorage point requires the following minimum conditions:

  • The scaffold must be tied into a sound structure as work progresses
  • Attachment can be made to a ledger, transom or guardrail supported with load bearing couplers or a transom supported by ledgers in a lift above fixed at both ends by single couplers
  • At least one bay of a scaffold should remain boarded out as work progresses and this should be used for ladder access for the full height of the scaffold
  • Safe ladder access for scaffolders should be incorporated as early as possible into the erection process
  • Scaffolders should not be clambering up and down scaffolds without proper ladder access and safe working platforms provided on each lift being worked on

Stability of scaffolds

There are reports each year of scaffold collapses across the country so to make sure your scaffold does not collapse you should ensure that:

  • The anchors specified to tie to a scaffold are suitable for the base material and that they are installed correctly
  • Scaffold anchors or ties are installed as the erection work progresses However, they should not be removed too early during dismantling operations
  • More ties will be needed on a sheeted or netted scaffold to ensure its stability
  • Scaffolds are not overloaded with equipment, especially tub and fittings, during erection or dismantling operations.

Training, supervision and monitoring

Effective training of scaffolders is possibly the most essential factor in preventing accidents on site.  In addition, do not forget the importance of monitoring.  Scaffolding companies should ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to educate their staff and that all works carried out on their site is undertaken safely.

Parking bay suspension and road closures

All parking bay suspensions and road closures need to be advertised in advance and it is recommended that the applicant contacts the relevant departments as soon as possible (Note 12 weeks advance notice is required by ESH for a road closure). It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure this is in place prior to the licence being required.

If operation requires the suspension of parking bays in Lewes, Eastbourne, Hastings and St Leonards, the applicant must apply to East Sussex County Council Parking shops for the respective Towns at least a week in advance of the proposed start date.