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People standing on a swing stage from Sunbelt Rentals Scaffold Services, attached to the side of a tall building.

The Safety Features of a Swing Stage in Scaffolding Work

Introduction to Swing Stages


Swing stages are commonly used for exterior access on various, multi-story construction projects. A swing stage is a suspended scaffold platform suspended with steel cables from a permanent or temporary support system on the structure.

Swing stages are very versatile and allow for safe and efficient access at height for many different trades such as window washers, water proofers, painters, and restoration contractors to name a few. 


The Importance of Safety in Scaffolding Work


Safety is paramount for any personnel installing swing stages as well as those that will be performing work on the equipment.

Swing stages are required to be inspected upon completion of the installation and/or any modification by a Competent Person. Additionally, all personnel performing work on the equipment are required to be trained in the hazards associated with using the equipment.


Scaffolding attached to the side of a high-rise building. 


Key Safety Features of a Swing Stage


There is a wide range safety features on swing stage platforms and hoist motors will, when maintained, inspected, and properly used keep personnel safe. Some of those include but are not limited to:

  • Toe boards and guardrail systems are used as barriers for protection to prevent workers, their tools, materials, and other items from dropping from a swing stage.
  • Emergency Stopping Device
  • Controlled Descent Device
  • Overspeed Brake
  • Overload Device
  • A harness, shock absorbing lanyard, rope grab and vertical/horizontal lifeline system will arrest a worker's fall in case one does occur.


Guardrails and Toe Boards


Guardrails and toe boards must be installed correctly along the work platform to provide an effective barrier that protects workers and equipment. These safety features must also be inspected regularly to ensure they remain in place and in good working order to maintain effectiveness.


Emergency Stopping Device


Emergency stop controls are essential for any swing stage scaffolding to prevent scenarios in which the motor may ascend or descend (under power) outside of the control of the operator. These work with additional safety features, such as fall arrest systems and railings, to keep workers, equipment, and materials secure. Emergency-stopping mechanisms can be activated by pressing a (RED EMERGENCY STOP) button or using a similar manual or automatic device.


Controlled Descent Device


The controlled descent device allows for operators to safely descend the swing stage to a lower landing in loss of poorer situations. This will allow for the stage to be lowered so workers are not stranded in mid-air, requiring potential rescue situations.


Overspeed Detection Device


The Overspeed Detection Device engages wire rope when platform suddenly falls. These devices need to be in good working order and inspected prior to each work shift by the competent person.


Overload Device


The overload device will prevent the operators from putting too much weight on and subsequently overloading the stage. These devices will prevent the users from elevating the stages once overload has occurred.


Harness and Vertical or Horizontal Lifeline System


A harness and vertical or horizontal lifeline system protects workers by arresting their fall in case of an actual fall from height. And participants on the scaffolding and swing stages. It is important that all Harnesses fit, and that all protective equipment has been inspected prior to use and is in good working order to ensure they will provide support in the event of an incident.




At Sunbelt Rentals Scaffold Services, we have an extensive service offering including, design, rental, installation, disassembly, and training that all are critically important to a safe and productive outcome.