Why Scaffolds Jetties Undergo Regular Inspection & Maintenance

Why Scaffolds Jetties Are Built?

Scaffolds Jetties
Scaffolds Jetties

The reason temporary Scaffolds Jetties are built is for easy landing of boats and for people to have access to the water in the area.

Most permanent jetties can accommodate the landing ships and tug boats but the temporary jetty is mostly built with scaffolds and is mainly built for ferry boats, canoes, and for a particular number of people.

This type of jetty are mostly found in:

Communities with waterfronts and having some trading activities in the form of commerce with other communities,

Onshore oil and gas industries having waterfronts for transportation and other purposes,

Construction and other engineering industries making use of waterfronts in its activities,

Even most offshore with shallow depth builds temporary jetties often when the need arises.

The need to build temporary always arise in these industries such that it is avoidable, some have it as an emergency escape route or a way to ease the congestion in an existing jetty or the overuse.

The major thing in this practice is the regular inspection and maintenance of the jetty. While different companies employ different methods of carrying out this duty some have better methods which should be encouraged that others do the same. 

One of the best practices is having a regular inspection schedule, a periodic report of previous inspections and the defects found, the maintenance reports in response to the defects, the suggested causes of such defects, and how to prevent or minimize the future occurrence.


To reduce the number of accidents, incidents, and near miss coming from the use of such jetty

Keep a good reputation of the company proper jetty management

Avoiding any legal action against the company due to accidents that arise from the jetty

Helps to acquire more knowledge about the environments and the effects of existing facilities.

It increases the confidence in the use of the jetty


It is time-consuming since no activities is allowed on the jetty during the period

It cost the company money to employ the services of scaffolds and structural integrity inspectors

The reports may reveal some environmental traits such as floods and soil erosion which may create fear to the company for a possible attack of such traits.



The major problems with structural facilities are the possibility of sinking after a long period of time, this sinking is different from collapse; sinking is a gradual decrease in the initial height of a structural which could be made visible from a periodic inspection and recording of the position of the structure.

The major contributor to the problem of sinking is the soil texture and foundation preparation.

This effects can be avoided in most cases where a proper survey of the area is done by the process of reinforcing the foundation of any structure on the soil but in the case where such was not done and the soil is not a good type for mounting or installation of industrial facilities then sinking is inevitable.

Before mounting scaffolds they soil nature and its ability to carry the scaffolds without sinking over a period of time. Or with very little percentage of sinking over a period of time which may have no visible effect on the users have to be properly checked.

In the case while the test failed then mounting the scaffolds to form a temporary jetty will make the inspection and maintenance cost to be high for the company.

Every scaffold mounted on waterfronts do sink though this is not visible to the users but it is visible when a proper measuring instruments are employed.

The major concern will be the rate of the sinking per a particular period of time either every five years or ten years and this is among the major the inspection is very necessary but scaffolds used in temporary jetty.


Most of the waterfronts are prone to floods which cause increase and decrease of the water level that affects the design of the jetty.

When the water level rises very high some part of the jetty will be covered which makes it difficult for boats to land properly or any individual to enter any boat without dipping legs into the water first.

This becomes the reason while it is necessary that every scaffolds jetty needs adjustment following the environmental study of the area to know when water levels rise and when it goes down.


The shackles used in the scaffolds has threaded bolts and nuts which lose its tensions and grips over a long period of time while some that are prone to rust and corrosion that is those beneath the water surface do get loose and fall off over a long period of time.

This problem can only be prevented through a periodic check of the scaffolds since the neglect can lead to the sudden collapse of the whole structure over a period of time.


It will be very possible for the jetty to be functioning daily with overloading coming from the large number of people which could be workers that stand on it waiting for load or in an emergency situation using it as a muster point or travelers and petty traders that do pack their loads on the jetty waiting for boat to convey them.

It is a duty to check met these activities on the jetty to ensure they do not exceed the actual load calculations made during the mounting of the jetty as if such is not done, the possibility of the jetty collapsing or sliding is very high.


The structural integrity of the jetty must be checked regularly to ensure that the maximum load capacity of the jetty is up to date in the situation where the jetty will be serving as emergency muster point.

This means it should the capacity of carrying everyone without any form of deformation in the structure in such a situation. Therefore it is the company’s duty to ensure this is carried out regularly.


Some steel pipes use in the scaffold works have different tensile and compressive strengths arising from the different material thickness and compositions during the metallurgical process of the poles.

Therefore using the types that have differences in these properties will create an undue pressure to some parts of the scaffolds after the erection.

The pressure created in the form of compressive force to the less thick poles of the scaffolds will become a source of weakness to the jetty since any other compressive force in that area when the jetty is fully functional will increase the existing pressure thereby increasing the potential for the collapse of the jetty through that area.

These are the reasons a specialist or an inspector is needed during the scaffolding works, allowing an amateur to erect a jetty will be a source of creating a risk to the company.

For proper mounting of the scaffolds to form jetty the following must be considered:

The lengths of the scaffolds pipes

The thickness of each pipe must be the same if not sure check it with internal micrometer or Vernier calipers

It is important to know when the scaffold pipes was first put to use and if possible for you obtain information on the material properties of the pipes

The couplings shackles must be checked and anyone with defect has to be removed

The soil of the place should be properly studied to avoid high level of sinking


Man overboard is the term use in oil and gas industries to refer to when a personnel falls inside water by accident which could be either from a boat, jetty, building near a waterfront etc.

The jetty should consist of floating devices around it to ensure that in the case of emergency of man overboard those device known as lifesaving equipment will be thrown to the personnel to remain afloat pending when the rescue team arrives.

The most popular lifesaving equipment mostly seen in oil & gas jetty is the one seen the image of this post known as a life vest.

A speed boat with shelter
Scaffolds Jetties

The jetty should be able to carry much-floating equipment around it for any emergency situation beside one personnel man overboard, since a boat may capsize near the jetty, in such a situation a large number of such equipment is required to keep the passengers on board afloat.


Beside waterfronts that are covered with sharp sands or thick clay muds, others do have soil erosion over a period of time.

The soil erosion may start at a very slow rate or happen instantly when there is an occurrence of heavy water wave or heavy rainfall that channels water from the environment into the river, this incident will cause a sudden soil erosion on the waterfront.

Every jetty has to be checked periodically for the effects of soil erosion on it so that accurate period for adjustment will be maintained.

In the case where this is neglected the possibility of having the jetty off the land contact, can occur hence the users have to jump from the jetty before their legs can touch the ground or land.

Also, a sudden collapse of the jetty is possible when the jetty foundation is greatly affected.


Since boat land on the jetty regularly some do carry heavy loads to be offloaded at the jetty and most time do to the poor experience of the boat drivers.

They would land on the jetty with force still coming from the boat engine using the jetty as a balancing force to assist in stopping the boat this habit has led to the frequent weakening of the scaffolds and contributed immensely to most jetty collapse.

When this action is not checkmated on the jetty its continuous repetition will be inevitable and the effects of this action can damage jetty faster than overloading problems since the force coming from the boat is an impact force.


Some company may space the period for inspection and maintenance to be too far so that it will not cost much per year to manage the scaffold jetty but this spacing may be wrong since damage may occur within a shorter time than spaced by the company its inspection.

Another problem is the records obtained from previous inspection jobs on the jetty, if the data stated are false it could misread the company in its policy concerning the inspection and maintenance of the jetty and expose workers using the jetty to hazard.

Due to some reasons some contractor to the company assigned by the company to be inspecting and maintaining the jetty may be assuming some environmental effects data with other details concerning the state of the jetty during the inspection.

Hence, it is the duty of the company to have a staff with some fundamental knowledge concerning scaffolds inspection.

Another problem is the records obtained from previous inspection jobs on the jetty, if the data stated are false it could misread the company in its policy concerning the inspection and maintenance of the jetty and expose workers using the jetty to hazard.

Due to some reasons some contractor to the company assigned by the company to be inspecting and maintaining the jetty may be assuming some environmental effects data with other details concerning the state of the jetty during the inspection.

Hence, it is the duty of the company to have a staff with some fundamental knowledge concerning scaffolds inspection.

Philip Nduka

Philip is a graduate of Mechanical engineering and an NDT inspector with vast practical knowledge in other engineering fields, and software.

He loves to write and share information relating to engineering and technology fields, science and environmental issues, and Technical posts. His posts are based on personal ideas, researched knowledge, and discovery, from engineering, science & investment fields, etc.

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