Rolling Scaffolding Guide: Overview, Safety, Rental & More

What is a Rolling Scaffold

A Rolling Scaffold is a temporary structure that is easy to move. It makes use of it’s wheels to allow it to “roll” to where it needs to be used.  Rolling scaffolds do not offer the same stability as a fixed scaffold, but allow the scaffold to be moved to different locations much easier compared to a fixed scaffolding.

When a project requires the temporary work platform to move, a rolling scaffold can be the preferred choice if the ground conditions allow for it. Ideally, the ground will be flat, and be made of a solid surface such as concrete.

What is a Narrow Frame Scaffold (Baker Style)?

A Narrow Frame Scaffold (most of the time called Baker Style) is a type of scaffold which is mobile and can be adjusted vertically every 2 or 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm). There is a very similar style called the Perry Style, which has similar features to Baker Style.

This is a popular type of scaffolding because it is easy to adjust, and easy to move around. For certain jobs which require lots of movement (such as painting a wall), this is the ideal scaffolding because it can be moved from place to place with ease, yet still provides the security required when working at heights.

Rolling Scaffold Safety

When working with rolling scaffolding, safety must always be taken into account. One of the most dangerous aspects of working with a rolling scaffold is the risk of unwanted movement.

Unlike fixed scaffolding which cannot move, rolling scaffolding always have the risk of moving, therefore prior to climbing a rolling scaffold, the first and most important step is to ensure the wheels are locked.

In order to ensure the wheels are locked and the scaffold is not going to move, you must arrive at your stop, and ensure each wheel’s brake has been applied. Once all brake’s have been applied, push laterally on the scaffold to ensure it does not move. If any movement occurs, double check the wheels and repeat.

Before moving the rolling scaffolding, it is crucial to check the ground conditions. The ground must be flat, and strong enough to withstand the load of the scaffolding and any items (including people), which will mount the scaffold.

It can be extremely dangerous if the scaffold is moved to a location, and the wheel sinks once a load has been applied. Therefore proper ground inspection is crucial in ensuring the health and safety of anyone working on or around the rolling scaffold.

When moving a rolling scaffolding to a new location, it is also important to ensure there is no materials or debris left on the scaffold. Anything left on the scaffold risks falling and hurting anyone below, or damaging the surface below. Therefore it is crucial not to leave any tools or materials on the scaffold while moving. 

Lastly, it is always important to ensure no-one is on the scaffolding when it is being moved. This could lead to serious risks.

What is the maximum height of a rolling scaffold?

The maximum height of a rolling scaffold is 18 feet (5.5 meters). This is achieved by stacking three 6 feet high sections. What is crucial when going up to 18 feet is that the appropriate outriggers are installed to ensure the stability of the unit.

When can a person ride on a rolling scaffold? 

A person can almost never ride a scaffolding. There are some exceptions, however whenever possible, the person should dismount the scaffolding.

If for some reason a person must ride the scaffolding, many safety precautions must be taken. The person must be secured to the building (and not the scaffolding), and proper fall protection PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) must be worn. These are just two of the many steps that would need to be taken.

Moving a Rolling Scaffold

The purpose of using a rolling scaffolding is to have the option to roll it around. However, prior to moving the scaffold, many steps must be taken in order to ensure the safety of the workers, people, and property in the vicinity:

  • Ensure the ground is level and solid. If there is any slope, it must be less than 3 degrees
  • Ensure the ground is free of debris. This can include construction materials (wood, rocks), or anything than can impede the movement of the scaffolding
  • Ensure anything loose is cleared from the scaffolding. This includes anything that can fall from the scaffolding and injure employees or damage property. This might include hammers, paint jars, brushes, etc.

Along with these items listed, several other “common sense” things must occur. The scaffold must be moved at a very slow rate, and the area must be inspected for overhead wires or other obstructions.

The height of the scaffolding must be small enough that it will not tip over (generally a 2:1 height to base ration is the accepted value), and employees working nearby must be aware that the scaffolding is moving.

Rolling Scaffolding Rental & Types

The two major rolling scaffolding types are the Baker and the Perry. Both have a similar style and similar features.

Some of the major distinguishing features are the weight and load capacity. The Baker style is a bit lighter (120 lbs) than the Perry model (135 lbs), but the Baker style also has a smaller load capacity (1000 lbs vs 1250 lbs). In general, Baker is the more common style. 

What is the cost to rent a rolling Scaffold

The cost to rent a rolling scaffold is approximately $20/day, $75/week or $225/month. This is the cost for a Baker, but a Perry will be in the same range. The cost will vary depending on your location, and there may be additional charges for delivery.

The cost to purchase a rolling scaffolding is approximately $300.

About Alex Neumann

Alex has spent most of his working life in the concrete and cement business. While working in these manufacturing facilities, he worked on several projects, where health and safety was always the biggest priority. Whether it be working on small ready-mix concrete sites at minus 30 degrees Celcius (-22 Farenheit), or working inside large cement manufacturing facilities, working at heights meant requiring scaffolding to reach the hard to get-to places. It also meant working in areas where a fall could be dangerous or even deadly. From these various experiences, he developed an understanding and appreciation of scaffolding.

Leave a Comment