The last thing a mason wants to worry about on a busy jobsite is the platform beneath his feet. But without reliable scaffold planks, many masonry projects would literally never get off the ground. The Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) makes sure workers are protected by promoting better education and more effective safety guidelines for using scaffolding.

SIA watches for unsafe products and practices, and issues advisories to contractors. The group recently noticed plank on the market without a grade stamp, which ANSI and OSHA require. “Contractors have to protect themselves by asking suppliers to certify they are truly getting scaffold plank and that it is graded as such,” says SIA Platform Council Chairman Colby Hubler, of Mill Direct Lumber near Portland, Ore.

The council has created purchasing guidelines for all types of scaffold planks to help contractors quickly find the right product for their application. The PDF documents include best practices, materials standards, and checklists of items to discuss with suppliers, such as where they get their materials and how they provide support. You can download the guides from SIA's Web site.

The association also tracks buying trends. “Contractors are pushing for scaffold planks that provide more value,” says Hubler. “As material budgets tighten, they are demanding safer, higher quality products with a longer life span. Instead of buying less expensive products, contractors are making wiser investments.”

He also believes now is the time for contractors to focus on maintenance. “A slow economy provides the perfect opportunity to inspect and evaluate scaffold plank stock. Review your storage and handling procedures, get rid of old stock, and plan for future needs and purchases,” Hubler says. “That way, you'll avoid a fire drill situation when the economy bounces back.”

For more about SIA, visit

Following is a sampling of products designed to support masonry contractors.

LVL scaffold plank

Z-Plank is a strong, yet lightweight laminated veneer lumber scaffold plank. The e structural uniformity of LVL, combined with the strict quality control of manufacturing, ensures Z-Plank is safe and reliable scaffold planking.

Kennison Forest Products. 888-697-5585.

Planks with traction

GripStrip Scaffold Plank is hydraulically rodded on both ends and precision mitered on all four corners to control end-shear and splitting. GripStrip traction enhances both faces, and plank ends are coated with Advanced Performance End Sealer to repel moisture. Company name, production date, and OSHA SCAFFOLD PLANK can be embossed on both edges to verify standard compliance and ownership.

Mill Direct Lumber. 866-261-5563.