The standard permissible gap between scaffold boards should be no more than one inch wide unless an illustration proves that a wider gap is required. Moreover, the platform must be fully decked. A one-inch limitation in width is therefore an exception which is meant to prevent modification of the planks used by employers to construct the platform because such a modification may cause a tripping hazard.
Platforms should therefore be designed in a way that they are planked fully without any modification. The space between scaffold planks or between scaffold planks and uprights must be as narrow as possible. In instances where there is a need to increase the gap, under no circumstance may the width between scaffold planks and uprights exceed 9.5 inches.
A service gap is a gap between a working platform and the equipment which is to be accessed. It is only permitted if it is a minimum dimension to allow the performance of a specific task. The maximum gap to allow the performance of a task is 225mm and is only allowed provided suitable measures have been taken to prevent hazards.
Scaffold board spacing recommendations
All proprietary system scaffolds must be fixed and secured in accordance with the specified recommendations. All scaffold boards must be supported by at least 4 transoms. Boards less than 2.7m must be supported by a minimum of 3 transoms. Scaffold boards that are less than 2.13m long should not be used unless they are installed down to prevent them from being accidentally displaced. Those that are less than 1.6m long may be supported by two transoms provided they are secured at the end of both boards.
Scaffold boards should be made to avoid the need for lapped boards where it is applicable. Where lapping cannot be avoided, then maximum spans between supporting boards and the minimum and maximum overhangs for overlapping must be observed. All lapped boards must be secured to prevent accidental displacement.