Loading Bay Scaffolding: Essential Tips and Tricks

A scaffold loading bay is a platform erected for the purpose of landing, storing and distributing the materials whose weight exceeds the designated safe working load of the scaffolding structure. It also needs a loading bay gate which provides edge protection while ensuring the workers can safely move materials while working on the scaffolding. Here’s how much weight a loading bay can hold and the different things you should consider when coming up with a design.

Residential area scaffolding loading bay
For residential areas where access is limited

How much weight can a scaffold loading bay take

Loading-bay weight limit is one tonne per square meter(10kN/m2) with a 25% allowance for light mechanical loading of materials. It’s advisable to consult with the manufacturer so that you can ensure you don’t exceed the safe working load limit because each loading bay has a different design.

You should ensure that the loading bay is constructed and used in accordance with the Work at Height Regulations. The platform should have clear and visible signage indicating the safe working load limit. The signage should be placed where it can easily be spotted by operatives loading the platform.

Designs for residential and Construction site

The loading bay design you opt for should conform to the Work at Height Regulations. You should ensure that you inform your scaffolder how you intend to use it so that it can be designed for the designated purpose. You should ensure that the design is done by a qualified and competent designer.

When using a generic design, the scaffold loading platform should be based on a similar foundation and the dimensions should be identical. You should also ensure that the foundation is sturdy enough to support the load from the scaffold. It’s advisable to also include the load imposed by each standard on the foundation when designing.

How do you intend to use the platform? Will it be a forklift or crane-loaded platform? If the loading bay is crane-used, it shouldn’t have any gate but it needs to be properly enclosed with guardrails and toeboards for safety purposes.

Another crucial thing to consider during the design phase calculations is the impact loading especially if the platform is crane loaded because this will put into account the effect when loading materials on the platform. Some of the essential things that the design should entail include the following:

  • Detailed calculations
  • Anchorage and tie points
  • Safe assembly and dismantling considerations
  • Note the supporting structure/ground conditions
  • Clear and distinct indication of the safe working load for each platform

The person who hired the scaffolding should approve the design before any building work commences. But first, it should be carefully inspected by a competent person to ensure that it confines to the stipulated regulations and the customer’s requirements. You should also be issued with the handover certificate which should have a clear indication of the safe working load. The loading platform should be handed over as a separate item.

scaffold loading bay set up for bricklayers
Loading-bay for ease of access to second-storey brickwork.

Do you need a loading bay gate

A loading bay gate offers the necessary edge protection by allowing the safe loading and offloading of the platform while keeping it safe in accordance with the Work at Height laws. The gate should be constructed in a way that it still provides full fall protection regardless of whether it’s opened or closed. You can consider adding brick guards to the platform gate.

It should comply with the WAHR/BSEN 13374 when it comes to edge protection. You should refrain from using single-arm loading bay gates because they don’t comply with the Work at Height Regulations (WAHR).

Scaffold loading bay rules

Building the scaffold loading bay in accordance with the Work at Height Regulations is crucial to avoid any safety hazards. Some of the few rules that should be followed include the following:

  • The scaffold bay should be designed according to the WAHR by a qualified engineer or designer
  • It should be assembled and disassembled by a competent person
  • It should have a clear indication of the safe working load
  • It should have the necessary edge protection i.e, loading bay gate, double guardrails, and toeboards.
  • Upon completion, it should be inspected by a competent person and at intervals of seven days or daily once it has started being used.
  • The customer should be issued a handover certificate before any work commences.

When working on a project that involves a load that is heavier than what your scaffolding allows, a loading bay will come in handy for a safe loading and unloading platform. You should also ensure that the design and erection are best suited for the project at hand and that it’s done by a competent person.