OSHA recently modified its regulations concerning scaffolding--29 CFR 1926, Subpart L. The standard was reorganized in order to be easier to follow, and several changes were made affecting capacity requirements, safe access, fall protection, and falling-object protection. While the regulations allow for flexibility in the scaffold design, a contractor is required to have a competent person (CP) determine whether fall protection is required, assess the structural integrity of the scaffold, and make sure the scaffold is used safely. The OSHA compliance officer will inquire about the identity of the CP and will determine if his or her training and experience are sufficient. OSHA defines a "competent person" as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them." He or she must have had specific training and be knowledgeable about the structural integrity of scaffolds. This person must also know the procedures used to maintain the scaffolds and have the authority to shut down the job if there is something wrong with the scaffolding. The revised standard requires that scaffolds be designed by a qualified person (QP), defined as "one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing, or by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, has successfully demonstrated his/her ability to solve or resolve problems related to the subject matter, the work or the project." In most cases, the QP does not need to be an engineer. However, certain circumstances require that an engineer design the scaffolding. The portion of the regulation relating to safe access and fall protection during scaffold erection/dismantlement does not take effect until September 2, 1997. OSHA recognizes that fall protection while erecting or dismantling scaffolding will not be feasible in all situations, but it must be provided when it is feasible and does not create a greater hazard. Determining the feasibility of fall protection is the responsibility of the CP. It is a violation not to use fall protection during erection/dismantlement when it is feasible and safer. It is also a violation when a CP fails to assess a situation before scaffold erection or dismantlement. Fall protection is required for employees working 10 feet or more above the level immediately below. The different types of scaffolds have different requirements for fall protection. These are spelled out in 1926.451 (g)(1), sections (i) through (v). Fall protection must be provided on all supported and suspended scaffolds. In most cases, this will be a guardrail system. For some types of scaffolds, both guardrails and personal fall-arrest systems are required. These include, but are not limited to, single-point and two-point-adjustable suspension scaffolds.