To my surprise, they seem to have been standing on a movable piece of wood plank that was set on nothing more than the parallel rungs of two thin, foldable, metal ladders running down the building. I knew the plank was movable because at some point, one worker removed it while he was hanging from the ladder and moved it up. Talk about Spidermen!
I'm not an expert in large scale construction or even in scaffolding but the setup I saw was clearly unsafe. Shouldn't a proper scaffold system have locks to prevent the frame from collapsing? Shouldn't there be rails too to ensure that workers don't fall off? Lastly, shouldn't modern systems now be made of sturdy metal pipes that can withstand stress and weathering?
International standard scaffolding companies are numerous enough online for construction companies not to know what safe and modern systems look like. Moreover, many of these companies rent out their equipment so that construction companies don't need to buy their own if this isn't a financially sound option.
I think what I saw was in clear violation of workers' safety laws. It's a surprise that no one has yet met an accident at the work site. As I see it, if an accident does happen, both the contractor and the company that contracted could be held accountable for it.