Scaffold Regulations and Requirements in Singapore for the Construction Industry

Written By: SCAL Academy

Date: 16 April 2024

Topic: WSH Compliance and Auditing

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. Types of Scaffolds

  3. Approved Scaffold Contractor

  4. Scaffold Construction and Safety Measures

  5. Scaffold Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  6. Metal Scaffolds Safety Regulations and Requirments

  7. Timber Scaffolds Safety Regulations and Requirments

  8. Suspended Scaffolds Safety Regulations and Requirments

  9. Specific Regulations for Other Scaffold Types

  10. Design and Load Requirements

  11. Inspection and Maintenance for Scaffolds

  12. Compliance and Penalties 

  13. Conclusion


Safeguarding lives and bolstering productivity, scaffold regulations form the backbone of Singapore's construction industry. As towering structures reshape the skyline, ensuring stringent safety measures becomes paramount. In this article, we explore Singapore's scaffold regulations and requirements, delving into how these guidelines not only mitigate risks but also foster a culture of safety essential for successful construction ventures.


Types of Scaffolds

In the dynamic field of construction, the selection of the appropriate scaffold type is crucial for ensuring both the safety and efficiency of operations. Scaffolds serve as temporary structures designed to support workers and materials during the construction, maintenance, or repair of buildings and other large structures. The variety of scaffold types available caters to different requirements, ranging from height and weight capacity to mobility and adaptability to various construction environments. Below, we explore the diverse scaffold types utilized in Singapore, each defined by its distinctive features and common uses in the construction industry.


Tubular Scaffolds

Description: Constructed from interconnected steel or aluminum tubes, offering robustness and adaptability.

Uses in Construction: Commonly used across various construction activities, providing stable platforms for tasks like bricklaying or exterior cladding installation.


Trestle Scaffolds

Description: Consist of platforms supported by movable ladders, tripods, or similar frameworks, suitable for lower heights.

Uses in Construction: Ideal for indoor tasks such as painting or electrical installations, offering ease of movement and quick setup.


Suspended Scaffolds

Description: Platforms that can be raised or lowered, typically supported from above by a secure structure.

Uses in Construction: Essential for maintenance or cleaning operations on tall buildings, offering flexibility to access various levels.


Tower Scaffolds

Description: Freestanding scaffolds supported by four vertical standards, often mobile when equipped with castors.

Uses in Construction: Utilized for tasks requiring height and mobility, such as electrical installations or facade repairs, with the capability to be moved around the site.


Metal Scaffolds

Description: Scaffolds primarily constructed from metal, known for their strength and durability.

Uses in Construction: Appropriate for supporting heavier loads, used extensively in large-scale construction and renovation projects.


Timber Scaffolds

Description: Made using wooden components and used where metal scaffolds are unsuitable.

Uses in Construction: Preferred in environments where electrical safety is a concern or in heritage building work to maintain traditional construction techniques.


Frame or Modular Scaffolds

Description: Comprise pre-assembled frames that are quick to erect and dismantle, characterized by predetermined geometry.

Uses in Construction: Commonly used for projects requiring rapid setup and frequent reconfiguration, such as event staging or light construction works.


System Scaffolds

Description: Engineered with pre-designed components that lock together, enhancing safety and adaptability.

Uses in Construction: Suitable for complex constructions, providing structural versatility and increased safety in industrial maintenance or construction.


Approved Scaffold Contractor

Approved Scaffold Contractor (ASC) Definition

An Approved Scaffold Contractor (ASC) refers to a firm or company that holds a valid certificate of approval issued by the Commissioner under the Workplace Safety and Health (Scaffolds) Regulations. ASCs are entrusted with the critical responsibility of overseeing the overall scaffolding operations within the workplace, with the exception of tower scaffolds, trestle scaffolds, or scaffolds where the uppermost lift is less than 4 meters in height, excluding handrails.


The key responsibilities of an ASC include:

  • Construction and Compliance: Ensuring that all scaffolding is constructed, maintained, altered, and dismantled in strict accordance with the Workplace Safety and Health (Scaffolds) Regulations.

  • Team Management and Training: Managing adequate teams for erection and rigging, ensuring that all personnel are properly trained and follow the manufacturer's procedures to maintain safety and efficiency.

  • Safety and Standards Compliance: Maintaining scaffolds in excellent condition, ensuring they are type-tested by a recognized testing body according to standards or specifications approved by the Commissioner. This also involves ensuring compliance with additional relevant regulations and conditions imposed by the Commissioner as deemed necessary.


ASCs play a pivotal role in maintaining scaffold safety by applying their specialized knowledge and skills to prevent scaffold-related accidents, thereby ensuring a safe working environment for all involved.


Role of Approved Scaffold Contractors

In Singapore, only Approved Scaffold Contractors (ASCs) are authorized to construct, erect, alter, and dismantle scaffolds. These contractors are certified by regulatory bodies and possess the necessary expertise to comply with safety regulations. The ASC's responsibilities include ensuring that all scaffold components are of high quality, that the assembly adheres to safety norms, and that regular inspections and maintenance are carried out.


Applying to Become an Approved Scaffold Contractor

To become an ASC, entities must demonstrate the capability and resources to manage scaffold operations safely and effectively. Here are the steps and requirements for applying to be an ASC:

  • Who Can Apply: Only company representatives can apply. The applicant must be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and employ a minimum of two scaffold supervisors and five scaffold erectors who have completed approved training courses.

  • Certification Requirements: The company must have a bizSAFE Level 3 or above certification, and all personnel involved must be direct employees, including any foreign workers.

  • Employee Requirements: To apply, you must employ a minimum of 2 scaffold supervisors and 5 scaffold erectors. The employees must complete a training course approved by the Commissioner to carry out work with scaffolds. If the supervisors or erectors are foreign workers, they must be direct employees.

  • Application Process:

    • Log in to the Workplace Safety and Health eService portal through the following link: Apply to be an Approved Scaffold Contractor.

    • Upload all necessary supporting documents.

    • Pay the non-refundable application fee of $150. Processing takes up to 8 weeks.

    • Check the application status online; notification of approval or denial will be sent via email.


  • Documents Required:

    • A copy of the business profile from ACRA.

    • A risk assessment and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all scaffolding activities.

    • bizSAFE Certificate with a minimum validity period of six months at the time of application.

    • Personal documents for scaffold supervisors and erectors, including NRIC, Work Permit, S Pass, or Employment Pass, and relevant training certificates.


  • Validity: The certificate of approval is valid for a lifetime as long as the bizSAFE level 3 and above certification remains valid.


These regulations and application requirements are enforced to minimize the risk of accidents and ensure that all scaffolding operations are performed safely and efficiently. The strict enforcement of these rules reflects Singapore's commitment to maintaining high standards of workplace safety in construction and other industries where scaffolds are used.


Scaffold Construction and Safety Measures

Scaffold Construction Requirements

Specific guidelines for erecting and dismantling scaffolds ensure their safety and stability. These include:

  • Construction and Materials: All materials used in scaffold construction must be of sound material, good construction, and adequate strength. They must be free from patent defects and suitable for the intended purpose.

  • Foundation of Scaffolds: Scaffolds must be constructed on structures or foundations of adequate strength. If founded on soil, the soil must be adequately consolidated. For scaffolds exceeding 15 meters in height or erected on poorly drained soil, base plates must distribute the load effectively, bearing upon sole plates with a strength not less than 670 kgf per square meter.

  • Scaffolds Supported by Buildings, Ships or Other Structures: Scaffolds can only be supported by parts of buildings, ships, or structures that are stable and strong enough to afford safe support. Overhanging eaves and gutters must not be used unless specially designed for strength and used as walkways.

  • Designated Access Point for Scaffolds: Every scaffold must have at least one clearly marked and safe designated access point to ensure safe ingress and egress for workers.

  • Stairs and Ladders: Stairs or ladders provided must enable safe access from one scaffold level to another and, where practicable, be installed within the scaffold structure.

  • Standards and Ledgers: Standards should be plumb and fixed close enough to ensure scaffold stability. Metal scaffold standards should not be spaced more than 2.5 meters apart unless specifically approved. Ledgers in metal scaffolds should be spaced at vertical intervals not exceeding 2 meters.

  • Transoms: Transoms must be placed at or near the intersections of standards and ledgers to provide additional support and distribute loads.

  • Bracing: Scaffolds require both longitudinal and transverse bracing to maintain stability from the base to the top, with joints in bracing members properly lapped or spliced.

  • Gear for Suspension of Scaffolds: All chains, ropes, and lifting gear used for the suspension of scaffolds must be of adequate strength, quality, and kept in good condition to ensure stability and prevent accidents.


Scaffold Safety Measures

Detailed safety protocols include stability requirements and structural checks:

  • Work Platforms: Construction Standards: Work platforms must be closely boarded, planked, or decked and provided at necessary intervals. They should be at least 500 millimeters wide and constructed to minimize gaps to prevent tools or materials from falling.

  • Loading Requirements for Scaffolds: Weight and Capacity Limits: Signboards stating the maximum permissible weight and number of persons should be prominently displayed. Timber scaffolds should not exceed 75 kgf per square meter, and other scaffolds should not exceed 220 kgf per square meter.

  • Boards, Planks, and Decking: Safety and Compliance: Boards and planks used in scaffold construction must be uniform in thickness, capable of supporting specified loads, and secured to prevent displacement.

  • Toe-Boards and Guard-Rails: Fall Prevention: Toe-boards and guard-rails must be of sound material and construction, adequately secured, and positioned to prevent falls. The uppermost guard-rail must be at least one meter above the work platform.

  • Overlay and Screening Nets: Protection Against Falling Objects: Overlay or screening nets must be used to envelope any scaffold erected on the outside of a building to catch falling debris or materials.

  • Measures Against Electrical Hazards: Electrical Safety: All practical measures must be taken to protect scaffold users from electric shock, emphasizing the proximity to electrical wires or equipment.

  • Inspection of Scaffolds: Regular Checks: Scaffolds must be inspected upon completion, after any significant alterations, and at regular intervals not exceeding 7 days. This ensures the scaffold's condition remains safe for use.


Role of Scaffold Erectors and Supervisors

Training Requirements

  • Comprehensive Education: Scaffold erectors and supervisors must undergo rigorous training that covers all aspects of scaffold safety, from basic setup to advanced construction techniques. This training ensures they are well-versed in the latest safety protocols and compliance standards.

  • Approved Programs: The training programs must be approved by the Commissioner of Workplace Safety and Health, ensuring that they meet the national standards for quality and relevance.


SCAL Academy Scaffolding Courses

SCAL Academy offers four specialized scaffolding courses designed to enhance safety and technical competence in the scaffolding industry. Here's an overview of each course provided:


WSQ Perform Metal Scaffold Erection

  • This course equips participants with the knowledge and skills to safely erect and dismantle metal scaffolds. It's essential for those involved in construction and other industries where scaffolds are used.


WSQ Supervise Metal Scaffold Erection

  • Designed for individuals who supervise the erection and dismantling of metal scaffolds, this course ensures participants understand scaffold safety and compliance, enhancing on-site efficiency.


WSQ Perform Rigging of Suspended Scaffold

  • Also known as the gondola rigging course, this training is mandatory for all workers performing rigging activities on suspended scaffolds, emphasizing safety and proper handling of equipment.


WSQ Supervise Suspended Scaffold

  • This course focuses on the supervision of suspended scaffolds, this training is mandatory for all supervisors supervising rigging activities on suspended scaffold. It covers safety inspections, rigging, and compliance with regulatory requirements.


These courses are structured to provide a balance of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, ensuring participants are well-prepared to apply safety principles in real-world scenarios. Successful completion of these courses leads to certification, enhancing employability and adherence to safety standards in the scaffolding sector??.



  • Validation of Skills: Upon successful completion of training, erectors and supervisors must obtain certification that officially recognizes their ability to safely manage scaffold construction and dismantling operations.

  • Renewal and Updates: Certifications are subject to periodic renewal and may require additional training sessions to update the individuals on new safety regulations and construction techniques.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Supervisory Oversight: Scaffold supervisors are responsible for overseeing the entire scaffold erection process. This includes planning, executing, and dismantling scaffolds while ensuring that all operations adhere to the safety standards.

  • Safety Compliance: Supervisors must ensure that all scaffolding is constructed according to the approved designs and that it complies with all current safety regulations and standards.

  • Inspection and Maintenance: Part of their role includes conducting regular inspections to check the structural integrity and safety of the scaffolds. They must also maintain detailed records of these inspections and any maintenance work done on the scaffolds.

  • Incident Management: In the event of any accidents or safety breaches, supervisors are responsible for managing the situation effectively. They must document the incident, participate in any subsequent investigations, and implement measures to prevent future occurrences.


These specific roles and responsibilities are designed to ensure that scaffold erectors and supervisors are fully equipped to handle the complexities of scaffold construction while maintaining a safe work environment. This structure not only enhances the overall safety of the construction site but also aligns with Singapore’s stringent regulations on worker safety in construction environments.


Scaffold Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Mandatory PPE

The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to ensure the safety of workers on scaffolding. In Singapore, the specific requirements include:

  • Safety Harnesses: All workers on scaffolds must wear safety harnesses that are attached to a secure anchorage point. These harnesses are critical for preventing falls from height.

  • Helmets: Hard helmets are mandatory to protect against head injuries from falling objects or bumps against hard surfaces.

  • Protective Footwear: Safety boots with slip-resistant and puncture-proof soles are required to protect against foot injuries and to ensure a good grip on scaffold platforms.

  • Gloves and Eye Protection: Depending on the specific job, workers may also need to wear protective gloves and safety goggles or glasses to protect against hand injuries and eye hazards from flying particles or chemicals.


Employer Responsibilities

Employers have specific obligations to provide, maintain, and replace PPE as needed:

  • Provision of PPE: Employers must ensure that all scaffold workers are equipped with the appropriate PPE for the tasks they are performing. This includes providing PPE that fits properly and is suitable for the conditions and work being done.

  • Maintenance and Replacement: It is the employer's responsibility to maintain the PPE in good condition. This includes regular inspections for wear and tear, cleaning, and immediate replacement if the PPE is damaged or no longer provides adequate protection.

  • Training and Instructions: Employers must also train workers on how to use PPE correctly, including how to put on, take off, adjust, and wear the PPE. This training should also cover the limitations of the PPE and the importance of using it properly.


Compliance and Monitoring

  • Regulatory Compliance: Adherence to PPE requirements is monitored by workplace safety inspectors, and non-compliance can result in fines or more severe penalties.

  • Record-Keeping: Employers must keep records of the PPE provided, including details of the training given to employees and maintenance logs.


These measures ensure that all individuals working on scaffolds are adequately protected from various occupational hazards, thereby reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing overall site safety.


Metal Scaffolds Safety Regulations and Requirements

General Requirements

Metal scaffolds must meet rigorous standards before they are erected or installed in any workplace:

  • Type Testing: It is mandatory that all metal scaffolds are type-tested by a recognized testing body following standards or specifications acceptable to the Commissioner. This ensures the scaffold's design and materials meet safety and performance criteria.

  • Commissioner's Approval: Metal scaffolds must also comply with any conditions deemed necessary by the Commissioner, ensuring they are fit for their specific use in the workplace.


Design and Installation of Certain Metal Scaffolds by a Professional Engineer

For metal scaffolds that exceed certain height thresholds, the involvement of a professional engineer is required:

  • Engineering Requirements: Metal scaffolds exceeding 15 meters in height in any shipyard or 30 meters in other workplaces must be designed by a professional engineer.

  • Safety in Design: The professional engineer must ensure the design is executable safely, providing all necessary documentation, including calculations, drawings, and construction procedures, to those erecting the scaffold.

  • Certification and Inspections: After erection, the scaffold must be inspected and certified by the professional engineer as safe for use. This certification and the design documents must be readily available at the workplace for inspection purposes.

  • Ongoing Inspections: The professional engineer must inspect the scaffold at least once every 3 months to confirm its safety.


Ties for Metal Scaffolds

Effective stabilization through proper tying is crucial for the safety of metal scaffolds:

  • Tie Placement and Frequency: Ties must be placed every alternate lift and on every uppermost lift of an independent tied metal scaffold. Ties should be located no further than one bay from the ends of the scaffold and at intervals of not more than 3 bays or 7.5 meters apart, whichever is lesser.

  • Tie Specifications: Tie tubes must be perpendicular to the longitudinal plane of the scaffold with a maximum deviation of 15 degrees. Each tie must withstand a force of 1,000 kgf in either direction.

  • Tie Construction: Various methods for securing tie tubes to buildings or structures are specified, including yokes around structural members, securing through walls, or using ring bolts.


Transoms for Modular or Tube-and-Coupler Scaffolds

  • Transom Requirement: Every modular scaffold or tube-and-coupler scaffold must have transverse horizontal members or transoms for each lift, ensuring stability and even load distribution.


Spigots, Jointpins, or Sleeves

  • Standard Connections: Spigots, jointpins, or sleeves are used to connect metal scaffold standards securely. They must permit full bearing and have a tight fit with a maximum difference in mating diameters not exceeding 1.6 millimeters.

  • Engagement Specifications: Spigots and jointpins must engage with the standards by at least 70 millimeters, and sleeves must cover the standard ends by at least the same measurement.


Adjustable Base Plates

  • Base Plate Adjustments: When using adjustable base plates on scaffold standards, especially when adjustments exceed 150 millimeters, it is crucial to tie the standard longitudinally to adjacent standards using right angle or swivel couplers at specified heights.


Frame or Modular Scaffolds

  • Erection in One Plane: Frame or modular scaffolds must be erected so that every lift is horizontal and aligned within one plane to ensure structural integrity and ease of access.


Prohibition of Using Cross Braces for Access

  • Restrictions on Access/Egress: Employers and principals must ensure that cross braces on frame scaffolds are not used as a means of access or egress, emphasizing the use of designated access points for safety.


These detailed regulations and requirements ensure that metal scaffolds used in various workplace settings in Singapore are safe, stable, and suitable for their intended purposes, thereby protecting workers and enhancing construction efficiency.


Timber Scaffolds Safety Regulations and Requirements

Usage Restrictions

Timber scaffolds are prohibited in certain environments due to specific safety and durability concerns:

  • Prohibition in Shipyards: It is mandatory for the occupier of a shipyard to ensure that no timber scaffold is used within the shipyard environment. This prohibition is due to the particular safety risks and operational conditions present in shipyard areas.


Material regulations for Timber Scaffolds

The selection and preparation of timber for scaffolds are critical to ensure safety and structural integrity:

  • Timber Quality and Condition: All timber used for scaffolds must be of suitable quality, in good condition, completely bark-stripped, and not painted or treated in ways that obscure defects.

  • Approved Timber Types: Timber used must either be Bintangor rollers or other species of similar strength, durability, and resilience that are specifically approved by the Commissioner.

  • Sizing Standards: Standards must have a minimum diameter of 50 millimeters throughout their length, and any timber used as a ledger, bracing, transom, or putlog must have a minimum diameter of 38 millimeters at the tip.

  • Lashing Requirements: Timber components must be lashed using rattan strips or other Commissioner-approved materials, with each lashing being no less than 1.8 meters in length and wrapped a minimum of 6 turns per strip.


Construction regulations of Timber Scaffolds

Construction regulations ensure that timber scaffolds are safe and stable:

  • Height Limitations: Timber scaffolds must not exceed 15 meters in height to maintain stability and safety.

  • Double Row Standards Requirement: A single row of standards is prohibited for timber scaffolds to ensure adequate support and stability.

  • Tying and Bracing: Timber scaffolds must be securely tied and braced at the corners and rigidly anchored to the building or other structures at regular, close intervals to ensure structural integrity.

  • Bracing Specifications: Transverse and longitudinal braces must be securely placed and lashed to the standards to prevent any movement that could compromise the scaffold's stability.


Requirments for Timber Scaffolds Ties

Ties are essential for anchoring timber scaffolds securely to buildings or structures:

  • Horizontal Ties: Timber scaffolds must be tied to buildings or structures using horizontal ties to ensure stability.

  • Installation Specifications: Ties must pass through openings in the wall and be secured at right angles to another pole inside the building or structure.

  • Alternative Tying Methods: If standard ties are impracticable, ties must be designed by a professional engineer or approved by the Commissioner in writing.

  • Prohibition of Wire Ties: The use of wire ties is strictly prohibited to prevent failure under load.


Professional Engineer’s Responsibilities

The role of professional engineers in the design and safety of timber scaffold ties is strictly regulated:

  • Design Safety Measures: Engineers must take practicable measures to ensure their designs can be safely executed and provide all necessary documentation to those constructing or installing the ties.

  • Availability of Documentation: The design and drawings certified by the professional engineer must be kept available at the workplace for inspection.


Duration of Use of Timber Scaffolds

  • Time Limitation for Use: Timber scaffolds must be dismantled within 9 months after their erection to prevent safety risks associated with material degradation over time.


These comprehensive guidelines ensure that timber scaffolds used in various workplace settings in Singapore are safe, properly constructed, and suitable for their intended purposes while adhering to stringent safety standards.


Suspended Scaffolds Safety Regulations and Requirements

General Requirements for Suspended Scaffolds

Suspended scaffolds must meet stringent safety and structural requirements before their installation and use:

  • Supports and Outriggers: Outriggers or other supports must be of adequate length and strength, properly installed and supported, and securely fixed to a building, ship, or other structure using anchor bolts or similar means. If direct fixing isn't practicable, they must be adequately and securely anchored at the inner ends. Rope guards of adequate strength should be provided at the outer ends to prevent displacement of the ropes, unless the primary suspension wire ropes are secured in a manner that precludes displacement.

  • Suspension Points: The points of suspension must maintain adequate horizontal distances from the building face or any structure to ensure stability and safety.

  • Suspension Ropes: Must be made of galvanized wire ropes of sound material and construction, securely attached to the outriggers and, if applicable, to the winch drums. These ropes must be long enough to lower the platform to the ground, ensuring at least two turns of the rope remain on each winch drum when the platform is fully lowered.


Suspended Scaffold Platform Requirements

The platform of a suspended scaffold must meet specific criteria to ensure safety during use:

  • Platform Dimensions: Must be at least 500 millimeters and not more than 750 millimeters in width unless measures are taken to prevent transverse tilting. The platform must be arranged or secured so that, at each working position, it is as close as practicable to the work area, with a distance not exceeding 460 millimeters.

  • Load Capacity of Platforms: Boards, planks, or decking used as platforms must be capable of supporting a load of 670 kgf per square meter, considering the spacing of the supports.


Safety and Operation of Suspended Scaffolds

Measures to ensure the safe operation of suspended scaffolds include:

  • Safe Access: No person shall enter or leave the cradle of a suspended scaffold unless it is at rest on the ground or a level that affords a safe means of access or egress.

  • Maintenance and Inspections: The mechanisms such as climbers, winches, or powered devices used for raising or lowering the scaffold must be properly maintained and inspected at least once every 12 months to ensure safe working order. Records of these inspections must be kept.


Design and Construction Specifications for Suspended Scaffolds

Specific design and construction regulations ensure the structural integrity and safety of suspended scaffolds:

  • Spacing of Outriggers or Supports: Must not exceed 3.2 meters apart, measured from the center line of one outrigger or support to the center line of the adjacent one, unless prior approval is obtained.

  • Vertical and Taut Wire Ropes: Wire ropes used to suspend the work platform must be vertical and taut to maintain stability.

  • Level Maintenance: The mechanism raising or lowering the platform must be synchronized to keep the platform level at all times.

  • Design Approval: For scaffolds manufactured outside Singapore or those using specific designs for ties, a professional engineer or an approved third-party inspection agency must certify the design.


Counterweights and Sway Prevention for Suspended Scaffolds

Proper balancing and securing of suspended scaffolds are crucial for their stability:

  • Counterweights: Must not use unstable materials like water or earth. Every portable counter-weight should have its weight clearly marked and be securely attached to the outrigger.

  • Prevention of Sway: The work platform must be securely fastened to the building or structure at intervals that prevent the platform from swaying.


Operator Age Limit and PPE Requirements for Suspended Scaffolds

Additional safety measures include restrictions on operators and requirements for personal protective equipment:

  • Age Limit for Operators: No person below the age of 18 years should operate any part of the suspended scaffold.

  • PPE for Users: Users must be provided with a safety harness with a shock-absorbing device and sufficient, secured anchorage. It is mandatory for users to wear these harnesses at all times when on the scaffold.


Display of Safety Information for Suspended Scaffolds

  • Safety Notices: A notice stating the safe working load, the maximum number of persons allowed, and a reminder to attach safety harnesses must be prominently displayed in the cradle of the suspended scaffold.


These comprehensive guidelines ensure that suspended scaffolds used in various workplace settings in Singapore are safely installed, maintained, and operated, thereby protecting workers and ensuring compliance with stringent safety standards.


Specific Regulations for Other Scaffold Types

Tower Scaffolds

Tower scaffolds, known for their height and standalone structure, must meet specific requirements:

  • Stability and Base Dimensions: Tower scaffolds must have a base dimension adequate to ensure stability under all working conditions. The height of the tower scaffold should not exceed three times the smallest base dimension unless additional stabilizing measures are taken.

  • Guardrails and Toe-boards: Full guardrails and toe-boards must be installed at all work levels to prevent falls and dropping of materials.

  • Regular Inspections: Like all scaffold types, tower scaffolds must be inspected regularly to ensure their structural integrity remains intact, especially after any alteration or exposure to potentially destabilizing conditions.


Trestle Scaffolds

Trestle scaffolds are smaller, often used for indoor works such as painting or repairs:

  • Height Restrictions: The height of trestle scaffolds must not exceed 5 meters. When higher work is required, alternative scaffold types should be considered.

  • Secure Placement: The trestles must be placed on a stable surface, and the platform must be securely fastened to prevent tipping or displacement.

  • Load Capacity: They should not be loaded beyond their designed capacity, and care must be taken to distribute the load evenly across the platform.


Cantilever Scaffolds

Cantilever scaffolds use a cantilevered platform, which makes stability a critical concern:

  • Design Approval: Designs for cantilever scaffolds must be approved by a professional engineer to ensure that all aspects of the cantilever mechanism are safe and reliable.

  • Anchoring and Support: The cantilevered section must be thoroughly anchored, and the load capacity must be calculated to prevent overloading the outstretched section.

  • Safety Measures: Additional safety measures, such as increased guardrail height or additional tie-offs, may be required due to the increased risk of tilting.


Hanging Scaffolds

Hanging scaffolds are suspended from overhead structures:

  • Secure Attachments: The suspension points must be structurally sound, capable of supporting several times the potential load to be placed on the scaffold.

  • Safety Lines: In addition to the primary suspension system, a secondary safety line must be installed to act as a fail-safe in the event of primary system failure.

  • Inspection and Adjustment: Before use, after any adjustments, and periodically during use, hanging scaffolds require comprehensive inspections to ensure all components are in good condition and correctly configured.


These regulations ensure each type of scaffold is used safely, taking into account their unique designs and the specific challenges they present. This focus on specific requirements helps maintain high safety standards across all types of construction activities involving scaffolds.


Design and Load Requirements

Engineering Requirements

For scaffold designs to be approved for construction, they must adhere to specific engineering criteria focused on safety and structural integrity:

  • Professional Design and Certification: Scaffolds, especially those that are complex or exceed certain heights, must be designed and certified by a professional engineer. This includes ensuring that the design complies with all applicable safety standards and is practicable for safe construction and use .

  • Design Documentation: Engineers are required to provide comprehensive design documentation to the construction team, including all relevant calculations, drawings, and construction procedures to ensure the scaffold can be built safely .


Load Specifications

Detailed load specifications are crucial to ensure the safety and stability of scaffolds:

  • Maximum Load Capacities: The maximum loading for persons and materials on any scaffold work platform is specified. For instance, timber scaffolds are limited to 75 kgf per square meter, while other scaffolds (presumably metal) can support up to 220 kgf per square meter .

  • Personnel Limits: The number of people allowed on the work platforms also varies by scaffold type, with timber scaffolds allowing no more than 2 persons per platform and metal scaffolds allowing up to 4 .


Compliance with Design Standards

Scaffolds must conform to both national and international standards to ensure they are safe for use:

  • Standards Compliance: The construction of scaffolds must adhere to recognized standards such as those issued by professional engineering bodies. This includes the spacing of structural components like standards and ledgers, which have specified maximum distances to maintain stability (e.g., metal scaffold standards must not be spaced more than 2.5 meters apart) .

  • Regular Inspections and Certifications: Scaffolds need to be inspected and certified by a professional engineer post-construction and at least every three months thereafter to ensure ongoing safety and compliance with the original design specifications. Any detected defects must be rectified immediately to maintain the structural integrity and safety of the scaffold .


These guidelines ensure that scaffolds are not only designed and built to withstand the loads they will support but also continue to be safe through regular maintenance and compliance with rigorous engineering standards. This comprehensive approach to design and load management is essential for preventing accidents and ensuring the safety of all personnel involved.


Inspection and Maintenance for Scaffolds

Inspection Frequency and Procedures

Regular inspections are crucial to maintaining the safety and integrity of scaffolds:

  • Pre-use and Routine Inspections: Scaffolds must be inspected before first use and after any event that could have affected their structural integrity, such as adverse weather conditions or modifications.

  • Scheduled Inspections: Beyond initial checks, scaffolds should be inspected at regular intervals not exceeding 7 days. These inspections are comprehensive, covering all components of the scaffold to ensure they remain in good condition and are safe to use.

  • Special Inspections: After any alteration, incident, or exposure to potentially damaging conditions, a detailed inspection must be conducted by a competent person to ensure the scaffold still meets safety requirements.



Maintaining detailed records of inspections and maintenance is essential for compliance and safety management:

  • Documentation: All inspections must be documented, including the date, inspector’s name, findings, and any corrective actions taken. This documentation must be available on-site for review by any relevant authority.

  • Incident Reports: Any incidents or defects found during inspections must be recorded. These reports are critical for tracking scaffold performance and identifying potential areas for improvement in scaffold safety practices.


Labeling and Signs

Clear labeling and signage on scaffolds provide essential information to users:

  • Load Capacity Signs: Signs indicating the maximum safe load capacity and the number of people allowed on the scaffold at one time must be clearly displayed.

  • Safety Warnings: Signs warning of potential hazards, such as the risk of falling objects or the requirement for personal protective equipment (PPE), must be prominently placed to alert users.


These maintenance and inspection procedures are designed to ensure that all scaffolds are maintained in a condition that guarantees safe use at all times. This systematic approach helps prevent accidents and ensures that any potential issues are addressed promptly before they pose a risk to safety.


Compliance and Penalties 

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with scaffold safety regulations can lead to significant penalties:

  • Fines: Violations of scaffold regulations can result in fines. The amount can vary depending on the severity of the violation and the specific regulations breached.

  • Criminal Liability: In cases of gross negligence or repeated violations, responsible parties may face criminal charges, potentially resulting in more severe penalties, including imprisonment.


License Suspension and Revocation

The licensing authority has the power to suspend or revoke a scaffold contractor’s license under certain conditions:

  • Safety Violations: If a contractor repeatedly fails to comply with safety regulations, their license may be suspended or revoked as a measure to prevent further unsafe practices.

  • Serious Accidents: In the event of a serious accident or fatality linked to non-compliance with safety standards, a contractor’s license can be temporarily suspended during investigations and possibly revoked depending on investigation outcomes.

  • Failure to Maintain Standards: Licenses require contractors to maintain certain standards of operation. Failure to meet these standards consistently can also lead to suspension or revocation.


Ensuring Ongoing Compliance

To avoid penalties and ensure operations are not disrupted by legal issues, contractors must take proactive steps:

  • Regular Training: Ensuring that all workers and supervisors are regularly trained on the latest safety standards and regulatory requirements.

  • Compliance Audits: Regular self-audits and compliance checks can help identify potential areas of non-compliance before they result in regulatory actions.

  • Consultation with Experts: Engaging with safety experts or legal advisors to ensure all aspects of scaffold use are compliant with current laws and regulations.


These compliance and penalty structures are designed to ensure that scaffold safety is taken seriously and that all necessary precautions are taken to protect workers and the public. They reinforce the importance of adhering to established safety standards and provide mechanisms to address instances where these standards are not met.



The comprehensive overview of scaffold regulations underscores the critical importance of scaffold safety in construction and maintenance work. Scaffolds, whether metal, timber, or suspended, must be constructed, maintained, and inspected according to stringent standards to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of workers and the public. Adhering to these regulations is not only a legal requirement but also a moral imperative to protect lives and maintain high standards of workplace safety.

Ensuring the safety of scaffolds is a collaborative effort that requires the commitment of all stakeholders, including scaffold contractors, construction companies, regulatory bodies, and the workers themselves. By fostering a safety-conscious culture and rigorously adhering to scaffold regulations, the construction industry can achieve higher safety standards and reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.



Course Duration

0.0 Day Course

  • Training Hours – 0.0 hours

Medium Of Instruction

  • English

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Mr Daniel at 67939020 or email

Type of Membership

“The training provided by SCAL’s experienced and knowledgeable trainers has equipped me with an excellent grasp of construction safety and allowed me to enhance worksite safety in Woh Hup”

Govindavelalar Gunasekaran

“The course content is very relevant to my daily work and I will definitely recommend this course to my colleagues with design background at SCAL Academy.”

Daphne Yip

“SCAL Academy has a good understanding of how the industry works and the training is much better aligned with practical needs. The trainer also exhibited fantastic content knowledge and this enabled me to apply the concepts to my work.””

Kenn Tan