The true cost of low-level scaffolding

The true cost of low-level scaffolding


When you are looking into the costs involved with low-level scaffolding it is not as straightforward as you might imagine. Aside from the initial purchase of the scaffolding there are indirect costs involved that a smart manager must consider before purchasing. These indirect costs include: liability, OSHA, amount of usage, and who will be assembling and disassembling the scaffolding.


Direct Costs:

  • Steel Scaffolding – OSHA compliant steel scaffolding must include handrails – These low level scaffolds can cost between $300-$800 depending on options and accessories.
  • Aluminum Scaffolding – OSHA compliant aluminum scaffolding must include handrails – These low level scaffolds can cost between $500-$1000 depending on options and accessories.
  • Accessories:
    • Wheel kits – must be lockable – $35-$55
    • Planks – must have handrails – $300 – $800


Indirect Costs:

  • Liability – Safety is #1. Your business must put safety first or your firm will be liable for any and all accidents. One scaffold injury could result in your company being responsible for $10,000- $100,000+ in damages. Your business also loses the injured employee and you will need to hire someone new which is both boostly and time consuming.


  • Training – According to OSHA the scaffolding must be assembled by a competent person and then tagged and inspected before use. If you have new equipment, new hires, or have never had a training class you are required to provide training for the low level scaffolding. The costs involved include the hourly rate for the educator and the employees. A class might only be a couple hours and might be provided free of charge by certain manufacturers, but you will always have the cost of the employees time. If you have a group of 10 people who spend an hour learning the proper use of scaffolding at an hourly rate of $20 an hour, it would cost your business $200. If you have to hire someone to certify your team your cost could be in the $500-$1500 range.


  • Assembly and Inspection – The average low level scaffold takes two men to assemble and on average 2 hours. After your scaffolding is assembled it must be tagged and inspected by a third person to be OSHA compliant. All scaffolds must be logged and periodically inspected, because pieces of scaffold have a habit of walking away. At most businesses the time between assembly and inspection can be hours if not the next day. This means that even after your team has assembled the scaffolding it is not ready for use until the paperwork is done. If you have your two employees with an hourly rate of $20 an hour it costs your business $40 every time you assemble the scaffolding. You must also consider the lost time between assembly and usage and the hourly cost of your third person doing the inspection. This means that assembly and inspection can cost your business between $100 – $200 every time you assemble the scaffolding for usage.


  • Disassembly – Similar to assembly, disassembly costs time. It is important to stay organized in this process or pieces of your scaffold might get lost. Disassembly takes less time than assembly, although you still have the cost involved for your employee’s time. Estimated costs $20 – $100.


  • Transportation – Scaffolding comes in many pieces and must be carried from location to location. Traditional low level scaffolding can be cumbersome and sometimes difficult to transport, organize and store.





If your business is responsible and safety conscious the indirect costs end up costing more than the initial cost of the low level scaffolding. Combining the lowest direct and smallest indirect costs, your cheapest basic steel scaffold can cost your company $6,540 if used weekly.

Cheap scaffolding is never really cheap.




Smarter options:


  • The X-Deck is OSHA compliant and is a simple pre-assembled low level scaffold. The X-Deck is ready for use right out of the box vs hours with traditional low level scaffolding and bakers scaffolding. Because the X-Deck is factory assembled and inspected before it is shipped out it does not need to be tagged and inspected like traditional scaffolding. This saves your company money every time you use it vs traditional scaffolding. The X-Deck is extremely lightweight, durable, and portable. The X-Deck is first and foremost a safety product. Since there is no disassembly, only raising and lowering the X-Deck, no parts can be lost in transportation or set up. Safetec Industries, the manufacturer of the X-Deck will also provide a training DVD free of charge if requested. You can check the X-Deck out at or .


  • The X-Deck with a full cage handrail costs between $1000-$5000 depending on the model and accessories. The X-Deck has significantly lower indirect costs than traditional scaffolding, making the X-Deck more cost efficient than traditional low level scaffolding.


  • For custom work stands or platforms – Check out for custom designed ladders, work platforms, and elevated work surfaces. Their team of experts can guide you through any project from manufacturing, to aviation work platforms, or military stands and platforms.