Scaffolding Safety: How to Use Scaffolding for Protection in Extreme Cold Weather

Scaffolding Safety: How to Use Scaffolding for Protection in Extreme Cold Weather

Cold weather can wreak havoc on a job site. Paint will not dry properly and materials and surfaces are unable to reach the required temperatures for proofing and preparation. In addition, limitations of the human body mean your team simply cannot function at the highest level in below freezing temperatures.


Fortunately, scaffolding containment helps protect your job site and workers from extreme cold so you can maintain optimal levels of performance and complete the job on time. Here is a closer look at how to ensure scaffolding safety in extremely cold weather.

Scaffolding containment

Scaffolding safety starts with containment, which protects your job site using material that surrounds the scaffolding structure. This material is also known as hoarding. Common types of hoarding include plywood and tarp.

The application process starts by laying the hoarding material you select across the scaffold. Then, a fire blanket or other fire-retardant material is placed on the floor on top of the hoarding material. All materials should be bound tightly to form an adequate seal.

When you use an enclosure it puts extra wind loads into the structure and it could lift up like a huge sail. Therefore, special design is required when sheeting is used on the outside of scaffolding. Butts, ties, and diagonals are required every other lift vertically.

Elements to consider

Sufficient access and egress are critical elements to hoarding design. Make sure there is enough room for uninhibited movement to and from the hoarding, while maintaining sufficient containment.

Quality designs include a “Weather Strip” that provides an overlap to keep it sealed up tight. Typically, a secondary containment room and an adjacent changing room are also incorporated in the design when hazardous containment applications are needed. Components such as the Ten Leg Steel Stair, Aluminum Platform Stair, and Vertical Ladder can all be used to create a secondary containment room.

  1. Roof support

Another critical element to a hoarding design is an adequately designed and framed roof. A roof helps support the buildup of water, ice, and snow. It also protects against environmental hazards such as waste, dirt, and rust, or any overhead hazard that could fall or be placed on the hoarding roof.

  1. Adequate ventilation

Adequate ventilation within the hoarding should remain a top priority for scaffolding safety. Continuously monitor the hoarding atmosphere based on the standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or the Occupational Health & Safety Codes of Canada. Typically, this monitoring includes but is not limited to:

  • Oxygen (O2)
  • Lower Explosive Limit (LEL)
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Thermal/Smoke and Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S)

Cold weather doesn’t have to result in the shutdown of your job site. Taking a few extra steps and precautions can keep your site safe, your team working efficiently, and your project on track.

If you’re losing project time to cold weather, the scaffolding product design specialists at AT-PAC can help. Contact us and we can help you design a perfect custom solution to meet all of your project’s needs.









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