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What Are Scaffolding Planks?

Scaffolding planks are long wooden boards laid across the scaffolding sections to give workers an area to stand on and to work from. In contrast to a specially-designed scaffold work plank, the planks for scaffolding don’t connect to the framework of the scaffolding. The planks of scaffolding are transported up the scaffolding sections by the workers, and then placed on the scaffolding sections to create a space for workers to stand while they assemble the tower of scaffolding. The planks are often simply raised section-by-section when erecting the scaffolding instead of putting planks on each section of the scaffolding tower.

The use of a timber plank is popular for two reasons. The planks are sturdy and can be easily stacked when transported. The primary reason that many scaffolding rental companies use planks made of wood is that they are much less costly than an aluminum specially-built work platform. Some employees prefer using the planks because aluminum platforms tend to be slippery and can slide across the tubing made of steel that is attached to the sections of the scaffold. The planks made of wood also soak up water, whereas the aluminum ones tend to pool the rainwater, resulting in an unsafe slip-risk.

Many accidents could occur when the scaffolding structure is not properly stabilized.

Sometimes, the planks of wood are doubled in order to provide more support for heavy-duty materials like bricks and mortar. The sides that hang overhang from the planks can also be used as a place to place supplies and materials while aluminum platforms end right at the edges of the scaffold. Another reason why some workers prefer the planks over those of platforms made of aluminum is because they tend for the platform to stick against the structure. Platforms can become stuck when the scaffold is bent or moved in any way and the platforms must be pulled and hammered out of their position during the breakdown process, while the planks can be lifted off of the sections.

The use of scaffolding planks for construction not just saves time, but also helps save money, and generally provides the same level of safety as purpose-built platforms. They are easily rearranged while erecting the scaffolding, resulting in more or better footing when trying to lift the scaffolding sections to their proper positions. In certain situations workers may actually outfit the work section of the scaffold with an aluminum platform as well as scaffolding planks. The materials used for work are usually placed on the aluminum platform because it has sides that prevent the items from falling off the scaffold as workers work from the planks of scaffolding.

What You Should Know about Wood Scaffold Plank

According to the rules that are set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration The contractor is accountable for the security of scaffolding, even when it’s rented out, and even when the equipment is in poor condition or labeled incorrectly. OSHA has specific guidelines regarding the use of scaffold planking.

It must be able to carry its own weight, and at minimum four times the weight. It must be able to support its own weight and at least four times the intended.
When fully loaded, the plank will not be able to deflect more than 1/60 of the span

Planks of solid-sawn wood used for scaffold planking have to be examined and evaluated by a certified inspector. Planks manufactured by a manufacturer are also acceptable and should be used according to the recommendations of the manufacturer. If you choose to use the planks that OSHA recommends then you’ll be able to pass the safety inspection (assuming the planks are in good shape). If you are using any other lumber it is possible that you will need prove that they are in compliance with the requirements for performance. Another reason to adhere to the OSHA guidelines for scaffolding is the safety of your employees. There are many alternatives to solid-sawn planks of wood that are manufactured (or engineered) lumber planks, aluminum or steel planks as well as platforms. This article is focused specifically on the engineered planks of lumber. The manufactured wood scaffold planks are available in three different configurations:

Laminated veneer lumber
Laminates that are glued (glulam)
Pinned planks

Engineered lumber plank has grown in popularity over the last few years due to a variety of advantages over solid-sawnlumber:

Longevity
Stiffness and force
Certification
Cost

The scaffolding structure is as secure as the components. The selection of planks, their maintenance and storage are crucial. A regular inspection of the planks by a qualified person is an OSHA obligation. In general, around 70% of scaffolding is hired. Manufacturers are the most reliable sources of information about engineered planks. The article also contains details on laminated veneer lumber as well as a chart that compares the characteristics of different manufacturers of scaffold planks.