What are the rules of scaffolding in the UK?

What are the rules of scaffolding in the UK?

Scaffolding assumes a pivotal role in providing the best framework essential for supporting both workers and materials during the intricate phases of construction, maintenance, or repair projects within the construction sector. The stringent regulations in the United Kingdom concerning scaffolding usage underscore the persistent dedication to safeguarding the well-being of workers and the broader public.

Regulations Governing Scaffolding in the UK

There are a few comprehensive sets of rules governing scaffolding in the UK, accompanied by relevant statistics to shed light on the industry’s impact and compliance.

  • Rule Act No.1 in 1974: 

The primary focus of this rule is to create a safe and healthy environment in the workplace. The 1974 Act serves as the foundation of UK scaffolding laws, ensuring that every employee, including those who work close to or on scaffolding, has a legal right to have their health, safety, and welfare protected.

  • Rule Act No. 2 in 2005: 

It’s a height regulation act, and it aims to protect workers from the risks associated with working at height, emphasizing the importance of proper planning, organization, and competency when using scaffolding in Norwich. Employers are required to assess and manage the risks, providing suitable equipment and ensuring that only competent personnel work on or around scaffolding.

  • Rule Act No. 3 in 2015: 

In the 2015 Act, the UK government stressed the importance of considering scaffolding in the project design phase and ensuring that it is installed and used safely throughout the construction process. These regulations outline the responsibilities of various parties involved in construction projects, including clients, designers, and contractors. 

  • Rule Act No. 4 in 2019: 

The British Government announced its required standard for all scaffolding, BS 5973, to provide a code of practice for the design, construction, and use of access and working scaffolds. Compliance with this standard is essential to ensure the stability of the structure and the safety of the scaffolding system.

Statistics on Scaffolding in the UK

1. Accident Rates

  • According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height, including incidents involving scaffolding, remain a significant cause of workplace fatalities. In 2021/22, there were 41 fatal injuries to workers in the construction sector, of which 8 were falls from height.

2. Enforcement Action

  • The HSE regularly conducts inspections and takes enforcement action to ensure compliance with scaffolding regulations. In 2021/22, the HSE served 1,222 improvement notices and 213 prohibition notices relating to scaffolding.

3. Training and Competency

  • Regulations underscore the utmost significance of guaranteeing the competence, proper training, and licensing of individuals engaged in the erection, alteration, and dismantling of scaffolding. The Regulations Act 2005 require that all those who work on or around scaffolding are adequately trained and competent. The Scaffolding Industry Training Organisation (SITO) offers a range of training courses to meet these requirements.

4. Industry Growth

  • In the UK, the scaffolding market is expanding gradually. By 2025, the UK scaffolding market is anticipated to have increased from its 2020 valuation of £1.2 billion to £1.5 billion.


The UK’s scaffolding regulations are designed to safeguard the health and safety of workers as well as the general public, as the construction industry places a high emphasis on safety precautions. Respecting these rules is essential to lowering the number of incidents, guaranteeing the structural soundness of scaffolding systems, and promoting a safety-conscious culture. 


Q1: What is the British scaffolding standard?

Scaffolding BS1139 standard is a British standard for scaffolding installation that specifies the particular characteristics of the scaffolding’s size, thickness, material, and weight capability.


Q2: Is a scaffolding license required in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, erecting scaffolding or hoarding on a public highway necessitates a permit from the local authorities.


Q3: What is the ISO standard for scaffolding?

ISO certifications in scaffolding have numerous benefits and are highly valued by companies. They are usually displayed in the entry area of a corporate building or on the company website to showcase their achievement.


TDPel Media

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