Even the best pros in the construction game might not be well-versed in every scaffolding system—there are around 17 commonly used types, from systems scaffolding to tube and clamp. 

Pump jack scaffolding is a type of supported scaffold that offers several advantages, including its ability to provide workers with a set distance from the work surface at all times. Whether you’re considering this system for the first time or you’re an experienced pro looking for a refresher, our pros at Associated Scaffolding have put together a comprehensive guide to pump jacks to help you understand them. 

Construction workers using pump jacks on a building exterior

What is A Pump Jack?

A pump jack, as it refers to scaffolding, is a uniquely designed scaffold system. Composed of a platform supported by moveable brackets on vertical poles, pump jacks are known for their adjustability, making them a preferred choice for workers in the construction industry. The system is designed to be raised and lowered, similar to an automobile jack, allowing workers to adapt the platform to different working heights easily. This versatility makes pump jack scaffolding particularly well-suited for a variety of applications, including siding, roofing, painting, and stuccoing. 

When to Use Pump Jack Scaffolding

Pump jack scaffolding is most commonly used in construction and maintenance projects that involve working at varied heights, particularly for tasks related to building, repairing, or painting structures. 

Some of the most common uses of pump jack scaffolding include:

Exterior Wall Work

Pump jacks are often employed for tasks such as siding installation, exterior painting, or repairs on building walls. Their adjustable height and easy mobility make them suitable for accessing various levels of a structure.

Roofing Projects

Roofers commonly use pump jack scaffolding for activities like installing or repairing. The system’s adaptability allows workers to position themselves at different heights along the roofline.

Window Installation and Repair

When installing or repairing windows on higher building levels, pump jack scaffolding provides a stable platform for workers. This allows them to access windows safely and efficiently.

Maintenance Tasks

Pump jacks are ideal for a range of maintenance tasks, including gutter repairs, soffit, and fascia work, or any other exterior maintenance that requires workers to access elevated areas.

No matter the project, the advantage of pump jack scaffolding is its adaptability to uneven surfaces and its ease of setup.

Advantages of Pump Jacks

The best construction tools are the ones that strike the perfect balance between safety, efficiency, and adaptability. It’s in all these areas that pump jacks shine, emerging as a valuable asset for professionals working at heights. 

Versatility and Adaptability

One of the key advantages of pump jack scaffolding lies in its versatility and adaptability. Designed to navigate uneven surfaces and adjust to various heights, this scaffolding system provides a flexible solution for a multitude of tasks. Whether working on exterior walls, roofs, or windows, pump jack scaffolding can be easily configured to suit the project’s specific needs, allowing workers to access different levels easily.

Ease of Setup

Time is of the essence in construction, and pump jack scaffolding excels in terms of rapid deployment. The system’s straightforward design enables quick assembly, reducing downtime on the job site. This efficiency is particularly beneficial for projects with tight schedules, where the ability to swiftly set up and dismantle scaffolding can contribute to overall project timelines.

Werner 30' Tall Pump Jack Set

Cost-Effective Solution

Pump jack scaffolding offers a cost-effective alternative for projects that do not require the extensive capabilities of more complex scaffolding systems. Its simplicity of design and ease of use make it a budget-friendly choice, especially for smaller-scale construction or maintenance tasks.

Ideal for Residential and Light Commercial Projects

Pump jack scaffolding is particularly well-suited for residential and light commercial applications. Its compact design and maneuverability make it an excellent choice for projects involving smaller structures, where the ease of access to various levels is crucial. From roofing projects to exterior maintenance tasks, pump jack scaffolding proves its worth in a range of settings.

Most Popular Applications of Pump Jack Scaffolding

The key to getting any project done quickly and efficiently is having the right tools, from screws to scaffolds. Knowing when and where to use pump jacks can help save you time and money while keeping your teams safe. 

Window Installation and Facade Work

When it comes to installing or repairing windows on multi-story structures, pump jack scaffolding provides a secure and stable platform. The system’s adaptability allows workers to position themselves at various heights along the facade, ensuring that window installations are executed with precision and safety.

Exterior Painting and Siding Projects

Pump jack scaffolding excels in exterior painting projects where workers need to access different building levels and architectural details, like eaves, dormers, or decorative elements. Plus, the system’s ease of assembly and disassembly makes exterior painting projects go by faster than ever. 

Gutter Repairs and Maintenance

Maintenance tasks, such as gutter repairs or replacements, often require workers to access elevated areas along the roofline. Pump jack scaffolding offers a stable and secure platform for these tasks, ensuring that workers can confidently carry out maintenance duties. 

Small-Scale Construction Projects

Pump jack scaffolding is a cost-effective and efficient solution for small-scale construction projects, such as sheds, small buildings, or elevated platforms. Its straightforward design and adaptability make it suitable for providing workers safe access to various construction levels. 

A Guide to Purchasing Pump Jacks 

If you’ve set your sights on pump jack scaffolding for your project, your next step will be contacting suppliers and going shopping. Next, we’ll explore some of the avenues for purchasing pump jack scaffolding—and we’ll chime in on the great buying v. renting debate. 

Specialized Construction Equipment Retailers

Specialized construction equipment retailers are prime destinations for purchasing pump jack scaffolding. These stores often carry a variety of scaffolding systems, including pump jacks, and provide expert advice on selecting the right equipment for your specific needs. Visiting a local retailer allows you to inspect the equipment in person, ensuring that it meets your safety and functionality requirements.

Online Marketplaces

The digital age has transformed the way we shop for construction equipment, and pump jack scaffolding is no exception. Online marketplaces, like dedicated construction equipment websites or e-commerce platforms, offer a convenient way to browse and purchase pump jack scaffolding from the comfort of your location. It’s important to read product descriptions, customer reviews, and specifications carefully to ensure that the equipment meets industry standards.

FAQ: Pump Jacks

What are OSHA’s guidelines around pump jacks?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States provides guidelines and regulations to ensure the safety of workers using pump jacks and other scaffolding systems. OSHA’s regulations around pump jacks are primarily outlined in the Construction Standards, and they cover: 

  • Training and Qualifications: Workers must be trained to recognize and avoid potential hazards associated with pump jacks. Only trained and qualified personnel should assemble, disassemble, or modify pump jack scaffolding.
  • Fall Protection: OSHA requires fall protection for workers on scaffolds, including pump jacks. This can include the use of personal fall arrest systems, guardrails, or other means to prevent falls. Guardrails must be installed along all open sides and ends of platforms that are 10 feet or more above lower levels
  • Guardrails: Guardrails must be capable of withstanding a force of at least 200 pounds applied in a downward or outward direction. Midrails, screens, mesh, or other barricades must be installed between the top edge of the guardrail system and the scaffold platform.
  • Pump Jack Specifications: Pump jacks must be designed and constructed according to manufacturer specifications and OSHA regulations.
  • Load Capacity: The scaffold, including pump jacks, must be able to support its own weight and at least four times the maximum intended load.
  • Erection and Dismantling: Pump jacks must be erected, moved, dismantled, or altered only under the supervision of a competent person.
  • Platforms: Scaffold platforms must be fully planked and decked, with no more than a 1-inch gap between the platform and the uprights.
  • Access to Platforms: Safe access must be provided to and from pump jack scaffolds, typically through the use of properly designed ladders.

Employers, supervisors, and workers must familiarize themselves with OSHA regulations related to pump jacks and implement and enforce these guidelines to ensure a safe working environment. 

How high can a pump jack scaffold go?

The height to which a pump jack scaffold can go depends on a few factors, including the specific design of the pump jack system, the materials used, and the safety regulations in place. Pump jack scaffolding is commonly used for low to medium-height projects, and its height capacity is typically limited compared to other types of scaffolding systems.

In general, pump jack scaffolding is suitable for working safely at heights up to around 48 feet. The poles’ length influences this height limitation, the supporting structure’s strength and stability, and safety considerations related to fall protection.

It’s important to note that other scaffolding systems, such as frame scaffolding, suspended scaffolding, or mast climbing work platforms, might be more appropriate when working at greater heights. These systems are designed to handle higher loads and provide the necessary stability for taller structures.

Before using pump jack scaffolding or any scaffolding system, it’s crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations and comply with local safety regulations and standards. Additionally, workers should be trained on the proper assembly, use, and safety measures associated with the specific type of scaffolding being employed.

Are wood pump jacks safe?

Wooden pump jacks can be safe for use in construction projects if certain considerations are taken. The quality of the wood is the most important,  requiring durability and resistance to decay. Regular inspections are essential to identify any signs of damage or deterioration. It is crucial to adhere to established industry standards and guidelines in designing and constructing wooden pump jacks, ensuring their structural integrity. 

Load capacity limits should never be exceeded to prevent overloading, which could compromise the stability and safety of the scaffold. Proper installation and assembly are critical, with workers trained on correct procedures and meticulous adherence to manufacturer guidelines. Adequate fall protection measures, such as personal fall arrest systems or guardrails, must be implemented, and routine maintenance is necessary for ongoing safety. While wooden pump jacks can be safe when used correctly, it’s essential to consider other materials, such as aluminum or steel, which may offer additional benefits in terms of strength and durability.

Final Word: Pump Jacks 101

Pump jack scaffolding is a versatile and efficient solution for construction and renovation projects, offering workers a reliable and adjustable working surface when used on the right projects. The system’s ease of operation, stability, and flexibility make it an ideal choice for applications such as siding, roofing, painting, and stuccoing, where workers need a secure and easily accessible platform for their tasks.

At Associated Scaffolding, we’ve been helping our clients choose the right scaffolding and safety equipment for their projects for over 70 years. Contact us today for your pump jack scaffolding questions, or any other project needs!

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