Scaffolding Safety Standards in Saudi Arabia: A Comprehensive Guide

Scaffolding Safety Standards in Saudi Arabia

Scaffolding Safety Standards in Saudi Arabia: Construction is a dynamic and crucial industry that propels economic growth and infrastructure development. However, with the rise in construction activities comes the need for stringent safety measures, particularly in tasks involving heights. Scaffolding, a fundamental component of construction, plays a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of workers. This blog will delve into the scaffolding safety standards in Saudi Arabia, exploring real-life examples and success stories in the construction industry.

Purpose of Scaffolding Safety Standards in Saudi Arabia

The General Instruction (GI) outlines the essential administrative prerequisites for ensuring the safe design, construction, supervision, inspection, utilization, modification, and dismantling of both stationary and scaffolds with fixed platform heights across all onshore and offshore facilities and project sites operated by construction companies in KSA. The scope of this GI encompasses scaffolding activities carried out by contractors or Saudi Aramco departments in support of construction, operational, or maintenance endeavors.

Regulatory Framework of Scaffolding Safety Standards in KSA

Scaffolding Safety Standards in Saudi Arabia

The construction industry in Saudi Arabia operates within a stringent regulatory framework to ensure the safety of workers, particularly in activities involving scaffolding. The Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) plays a pivotal role in establishing and enforcing scaffolding safety standards across the kingdom.

  • Regulation for Design and Construction of Scaffold: One of the key regulations pertains to the design and construction of scaffolding structures. SASO mandates that all scaffolding must be designed by qualified engineers, ensuring structural integrity and stability. The materials used in scaffolding must adhere to specific standards to withstand the environmental conditions prevalent in Saudi Arabia, including extreme temperatures and sandstorms.
  • Regulation of Scaffolding Installation Procedures: Installation procedures are tightly regulated to prevent accidents. Scaffolding must be erected by trained and certified personnel, following precise guidelines outlined by SASO. This includes proper anchoring to the building, secure connections, and adherence to weight-bearing capacities.
  • Regular Inspections of Scaffolding Structures: Regular inspections are another critical aspect of the regulatory framework. Scaffolding structures must undergo periodic assessments to identify any signs of wear, tear, or structural weaknesses. SASO outlines the frequency and thoroughness of these inspections to ensure that potential hazards are detected and addressed promptly.
  • Training and Certification of Workers: Training and certification requirements for workers involved in scaffolding activities are outlined in detail. SASO mandates that all personnel must undergo specialized training programs to familiarize themselves with safety protocols, hazard identification, and emergency procedures. Certifications are obtained only after successful completion of these programs, ensuring a competent and safety-conscious workforce.

In essence, the regulatory framework established by SASO in Saudi Arabia sets clear guidelines for the design, construction, installation, and maintenance of scaffolding structures. Observation to these scaffolding standards is not only a legal obligation but a fundamental commitment to the safety and well-being of laborers working in the construction industry.

Safety Requirement for Scaffolds in Saudi Arabia

Safety Requirement for Scaffolds

General instructions are issued by the Loss Prevention Department of Saudi Aramco to fulfil safety requirements for scaffolds i.e. working platforms to protect laborers and material at construction sites. The instructions related to various equipments, systems, visuals, and manpower are given below: 

Personal Fall Arrest System: The Personal Fall Arrest System employed on scaffolds during working hours at construction sites to ensure safety by incorporating a robust anchorage, full-body harness, and lanyard, preventing falls and enhancing overall worker protection.

Qualified Structural Engineer: A technical graduate in civil or structural engineering from a recognized college or university. He is working for  a specialized scaffolding company or contractor. He must ensure safety at scaffolding platforms by employing expertise in design, construction, and inspection, ensuring structural integrity and adherence to safety standards for enhanced workplace safety.

Scaffold Craftsmen, or Scaffolders: They are the employees of a scaffold (temporary structure) builder or Erector. They work under the supervision of a qualified and experienced Scaffold Supervisor to erect, alter, or dismantle any scaffold. Scaffold craftsmen shall be qualified and trained to perform scaffolding works at a construction site. They play a crucial role in ensuring safety on scaffolding platforms. Their expertise in erecting, inspecting, and maintaining structures contributes to a secure work environment.

Scaffold Erector: Scaffold Erector is an organization in the construction industry specializing in the proper design, precise assembly, installation, and dismantling of scaffolding structures, ensuring stability and safety for workers engaged in various tasks at heights.

Scaffold Inspector: A Scaffold Inspector is an employee of a scaffolding contractor in the construction industry. Inspector is a professional responsible for meticulously examining scaffolding structures. He has specialization in this work with training, experience and expertise in the field. Inspector’s role involves assessing safety compliance, identifying potential hazards, and ensuring adherence to industry scaffolding safety standards in KSA for a secure work environment.

Scaffold Supervisor: The Scaffold Supervisor, an integral part of the Scaffold Erector team, is a full-time employee overseeing craftsmen involved in scaffold erection, alteration, or dismantling in their designated area. Possessing authority, training, and experience, they ensure competent direction and adherence to scaffolding safety standards in Saudi Arabia, certified by Saudi Aramco.

Scaffold Tags: In the construction industry, scaffold tags are essential components of safety protocols, serving as a visual indicator of a scaffold’s status and safety compliance. These tags provide crucial information about the scaffold’s inspection history, usage guidelines, and potential hazards. 

Typically color-coded, the tags convey important details such as the last inspection date, load-bearing capacity, and any restrictions or cautions. The use of scaffold tags ensures that workers and supervisors have instant, clear information regarding the safety status of the scaffold, helping prevent accidents and ensuring regulatory compliance. 

Regular inspection and updating of these tags are integral to maintaining a safe working environment, as they provide a quick reference point for workers and inspectors to assess the structural integrity and safety measures in place for each scaffold on a construction site. The scaffold tags are colour coded in the following ways:

  1. Red Scaffold Tag: The presence of a Red Scaffold Tag signifies that the scaffold has either not undergone inspection or is deemed unsafe for use, except by scaffold craftsmen. This tag also functions as a holder for inserting either green or yellow scaffold tags, as appropriate. These holders ensure the proper utilization and display of red scaffold tags in compliance with Saudi Aramco safety standards.
  2. Green Scaffold Tag: This Green Scaffold Tag signifies that the scaffold is fully assembled, has undergone inspection, and is deemed safe for use at the time of assessment. The validity of a green scaffold tag extends for a maximum duration of two weeks.
  3. Yellow Scaffold Tag: This scaffold tag sybolizes that the scaffold has undergone inspection and is allowed to be used solely by workers equipped with a securely anchored personal fall arrest system, comprising a full-body harness and lanyard. It is mandated when the installation of guardrails or planks is physically impractical or temporarily removed due to interferences. Importantly, a yellow scaffold tag does not authorize the intentional erection of an incomplete scaffold. The validity of a yellow scaffold tag is capped at a maximum of two weeks.

Saudi Vision 2030, a comprehensive plan to diversify the Saudi economy, includes major infrastructure projects. The success of these projects relies on the implementation of stringent safety standards, including those related to scaffolding, to ensure the well-being of workers and the timely completion of projects.


In conclusion, scaffolding safety standards in Saudi Arabia are critical for the well-being of workers and the success of construction projects. Real-life examples of the Ithra complex and the Jeddah Tower underscore the importance of adhering to these scaffolding safety standards. Success stories in the construction industry in alignment with Saudi Vision 2030, highlight the positive outcomes of prioritizing scaffolding safety standards.

The commitment to scaffolding safety is not just a legal requirement but a moral obligation that contributes to the sustainable growth of the construction sector in the Kingdom.

FAQs on Scaffolding Safety Standards in Saudi Arabia

Q. What is the safety requirement for scaffolding?

Ans. Scaffolding safety necessitates compliance with standards outlined by regulatory bodies, including proper design, regular inspections, qualified personnel, and the use of personal protective equipment for workers at heights.

Q. What are the guidelines for scaffold safety?

Ans. Scaffold safety standards in Saudi Arabia guidelines include thorough inspections, adherence to design specifications, use of certified components, proper installation, and ongoing compliance with industry standards to ensure a secure working environment.

Q. What ISO standard is scaffolding?

Ans. Scaffolding conforms to ISO 45001, which outlines occupational health and safety management systems. This standard ensures the implementation of effective safety measures in scaffold-related activities.

Q. What is the scaffolding standard as per OSHA?

Ans. OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA’s scaffolding safety standard, found in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart L, details safety requirements for construction scaffolds. It covers design, construction, use, and inspection to ensure worker protection.

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