Scaffolding as a construction tool has been in use for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. As common in modern cities as it was in ancient ones, scaffolding has been used on large construction jobs as a way to get workers where they need to be to complete their projects. The reason it has endured for so long, though, is because scaffolding provides a great deal of advantages to its users.
The first and primary advantage that scaffolding offers is that it provides reach above arm's length, for work on higher walls or ceilings. As a small platform of wood, fiberglass or lightweight metal on top of a network of support, scaffolding offers any worker the necessary height to get the job done.
The second big advantage of scaffolding is the position that it puts a worker in. Height and reach sometimes can be offered through easier means, such as a ladder. However, ladders are angled, and do not offer a solid platform that a worker can balance on. Scaffolding, on the other hand, puts a worker directly in front of the surface he needs to work on, without awkward angles. This can be a major boon, particularly when leverage comes into play. Additionally, a scaffold offers a wider surface, so multiple workers can work side by side without great difficulty. This is not generally possible for two workers who are trying to get two ladders side by side.
One of the biggest reasons to use scaffolding, and why it remains so popular, is the amount of safety that it can provide. Scaffolding is supportive and has four anchor points, if not more, on the ground. This means that it provides a firm platform for workers to stand, sit and work from. Additionally, scaffolding can be made of a variety of strong, lightweight materials such as aluminum, which enables it to stay even steadier. It is easier for workers to maintain their balance on a flat platform than on a ladder step, for example, so accidents are less likely with scaffolding. Additionally, scaffolding often has a hand rail on the top platform, which helps prevent workers from falling off and injuring themselves while on the job.