There are many types of staging available. We will only mention some general safety several tips. It is important that your confidence and sense of balance are up to the task. Using some methods of staging rely on the workers ability to climb and balance. The workers coordination ability, and physical condition are important safety factors. Also a sense of understanding the equipment and procedures can prevent accidents. If you’re not confident, hire a professional for certain areas. Leave nothing to chance.
As shown in the diagram below; as the plank is flexed, the overlap becomes dangerously short.
Inspect planks Check to see it planks are cracked, twisted or bent. Check wooden planks for rot, see if there have been any holes made into the planks, this could weaken them. Make sure there are no nails or screws sticking out. Test planks low to the ground applying the same weight or slightly more than you will put on them while working. Do not over load the planks while testing. When testing planks be sure to use the same span you will use while working.
Holes, screws, and nails Any holes that have been made by a drill, screws or nails, will reduce the capacity of the plank weather or not the screw or nails have been pulled or still remain in the plank.
Plank Capacity Be sure the planks are rated to support your weight. Remember the longer the span, the stronger the plank will need to be.
Doubling wooden planks one on top of the other is often advised.
Width of planks Make your staging, is as wide as reasonably possible, wooden planks are available in different widths, can often be placed side by side to make a wider staging. However when this method is used sometimes the flexing of the planks when stepping alternately from plank to plank while walking the staging, can cause instability to the worker. Having the planks doubled can prevent the flexing. Attaching cross boards with screws to the under side of the staging planks can help prevent this kind of instability. When using cross boards make sure screws are strong & secure enough, if they should suddenly let go, it could cause the worker to fall. Keep in mind that each screw added into the bottom of a plank will reduce the strength of the plank.
Strength of supporting equipment Keep in mind the amount of weight that is going onto whatever the staging platform rest on, especially when light duty ladders and stepladders are used as the staging support. (Planks + workers + tools) = Total. Do not surpass the capacity of the supporting equipment.
Over lap your staging supports Over lap the plank supports (ladder rung, staging bracket, ect) by 10 inches or more. Check these areas frequently to make sure the planks are safely on the supports, as the planks are walked on they can shift their position little by little. You may prefer to add a stop at each end of the plank so that it cannot slide off.
Pipe staging If you will be using pipe staging (scaffolding), be sure that it is going up with bottoms of the legs level. Don’t set hollow pipe legs directly on the ground. As the weight accumulates on the scaffolding, a leg could suddenly plunge into the ground causing the staging to go over. Use the flat feet if provided with staging or sold platform blocking such as a "2 by 6". Small wheels are not preferred for use on ground.
Interior use of pipe staging If scaffolding is to be used on it wheels; make sure to check for any floor vents that a wheel could fall into.