Spotlight on Scaffold Training

Spotlight on Scaffold Training

20th January 2015

No Fall Protection PostWhile browsing the internet recently looking for interesting and informative stuff on safety ladders and scaffolding, we came across this image of the Eiffel Tower in Paris getting a new coat of paint in 1932.  Shockingly, there is not a safety helmet, safety harness, fall arrest system or any other type of personal safety equipment in sight!   These guys are working at a dizzying height – look how high up they are and how small the buildings below look from this angle.  The Eiffel Tower was built to celebrate the centennial of the fall of the Bastille and the launch of the French Revolution.    In March, 1889 the last of more than 18,000 iron pieces was riveted into place and for the next four decades it was the tallest structure in the world at 986 feet.  Since its construction, the Eiffel Tower has become one of the most popular suicide sites in Europe with around 400 people using it to jump from.  Several years ago, 6 foot high barriers were constructed on the tower perimeter in a bid to reduce the number of incidents.

This has led us to thinking about scaffolding safety – after all, the Eiffel Tower could be described as the world’s largest scaffolding.  When the Eiffel Tower was built there was no legislation to protect workers and although more than 300 on-site employees were involved in the construction, only one worker died.  These days we have stringent health and safety regulations designed to protect those who work at height and training is seen as an essential component in keeping workers safe. 

The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) has been the industry recognised scaffold training scheme for more than 30 years and is the preferred scaffolding qualification of all of the major organisations and the largest scaffold systems manufacturers.  UK law requires that individual operative are competent in scaffold erection, dismantling and alterations and the easiest way to prove competence is via a CISRS card. There are several categories of CISRS cards:

  • Labourer
  • Trainee
  • Scaffolder
  • Advanced Scaffolder
  • Supervisor
  • Basic Scaffold Inspection
  • Advanced Scaffold Inspection

Trainee scaffolders are not allowed to work on their own and must be directly supervised by a qualified scaffolder working alongside them.  Advanced Scaffolders are only required if the works carried out is of an advanced nature (complex desing work, hanging scaffolds, support scaffolds, etc.).

Cards can be applied for via the CISRS website and, depending on the category of card applied for, the applicant must have undertaken certain training courses and tests (the website has more information on what type of training is required for each category of CISRS card).  The application forms are available to download online and must be printed, then completed and sent to CISRS with a passport sized photograph and a non-refundable application fee.

CISRS courses can be booked and paid for via the CISRS website at a number of training centres around the UK.  The cost of the courses may vary depending on the training centre and the region.