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Load Testing Of Temporary Structural Platforms

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Lab Experiments in Materials Science

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.818.1 - 7.818.13

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Paper Authors

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Harvey Abramowitz

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Load Testing of Temporary Structural Platforms

Ralph E. Bennett III, PE, Harvey Abramowitz, John H. Bennett, Rick J. Hendrickson, Carris Koultourides, Walter Kucharski and Brandon W. Tredway

Purdue University Calumet – Hammond, IN 46323


Scaffolding planks are widely used in the construction field as temporary platform support for workmen and materials. These scaffolding planks undergo dynamic impacts daily due to the weight of people and materials dropped onto them. These dynamic loads are not taken into account by professional and trade organizations, engineers, contractors and workers. This includes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Handbook, which only lists the static load limits. Therefore, a standardized dynamic load procedure was developed. Based on this procedure, an experiment is described, which can be used as a laboratory exercise for a course in strength of materials.


In recent years, attention has been directed to the effects of dynamic loading on solid-sawn and composite wood planks. Interest has multiplied because the scaffold platform material is the weakest link of any temporary structure. Because current platform design is based on static loading,1 this procedure does not consider normal platform usage. Common usage always includes application of dynamic loading, such as workers jumping, materials being dropped, or load handling equipment hitting the platform from a higher level. To reduce the current design factors of safety against failure, each occurrence must be addressed and evaluated to get a realistic design factor of safety.

A standardized dynamic load procedure needs2 to be developed to estimate the potential effect of the dynamic loading. Therefore, an investigation was undertaken to (1) design and build a testing apparatus; (2) develop a standardized testing procedure; (3) determine the theoretical and actual dynamic results for solid–sawn and manufactured wood platform; (4) compare theoretical and actual static and dynamic loading results; and (5) develop dynamic loading criteria. The results from this investigation have recently been reported. 3 The experiment described here is based on these results, which are a combination of the work done by two engineering senior design teams and a senior project in the Department of Construction Technology. The

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Abramowitz, H. (2002, June), Load Testing Of Temporary Structural Platforms Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

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