Occupational health and safety practices is serious business in the construction industry especially after the Toronto 2009 tragedy where several workers plunged to their deaths from a 13-storey high rise after a swing stage malfunctioned. By mid 2014, after the creation of the first Chief Prevention Officer in 2011 and a Prevention Council in 2012, a new safety training standard for working at heights was set in place and deemed mandatory. Employers are now required by the Government to provide protection training to workers engaging in fall-hazardous tasks.
The Scaffold Industry Association of Canada (SICA) has long upheld the industry-standards on occupational safety. Below is an excerpt from the SIAC’s Code of Safe Practice on Suspended Powered Scaffold:
1. If in doubt regarding safety or use of suspended scaffold, consult your scaffold supplier.
2. Follow all equipment manufacturers’ recommendations as well as all local, provincial and federal codes, ordinances and regulations, pertaining to suspended scaffolding.
3. Survey the job site for hazards such as exposed electrical wires, obstructions that could overload or tip the suspended scaffold when it is raised or lowered, unguarded roof edges or openings inadequate or missing tieback anchorages, or the need for overhead protection where exposure to falling objects exist. These conditions must be corrected before installing or using suspended scaffold systems.
4. Inspect all equipment before each use. Never use any equipment that is damaged or defective in any way. Tag damaged or defective equipment and remove it from the job site.
5. Always use fall arrest equipment when using suspended scaffolds. See the Fall Arrest Equipment Guideline section for further reference.
6. Erect, use and dismantle suspended powered scaffold equipment in accordance with design and/or manufacturers recommendations.
7. Do not erect, dismantle, or alter suspended scaffold systems unless under the supervision of a qualified person.
8. Do not abuse, misuse, or use suspended scaffold equipment for purposes or in way for which it was not intended.
9. Users must be trained on how to safely operate equipment and how to handle emergency situations, if in doubt, consult a qualified person.
10. Erected suspended scaffolds should be continuously inspected by the users to ensure that they are maintained in a safe condition. Report any unsafe condition to your supervisor.
11. Care must be taken when operating and storing equipment during windy conditions.
12. Powered platforms must never be operated near live power lines unless proper precautions are taken. Consult the power service company for advice.
13. Do not work on scaffolds if you feel dizzy, unsteady in any way or are impaired in any way by drugs or any other substance.
1. When rigging on exposed roofs or floors wear fall prevention equipment. When rigging from overhead supports, such as bridges, beams etc. wear fall arrest equipment.
2. Roof anchorages, parapet clamps, outrigger beams, or other supporting devices, including tiebacks and their anchorages, must be capable of supporting the rated load of the hoist with a safety factor of four (4).
3. Verify that the building or structure will support the suspended loads with a safety factor of at least four (4).
4. Overhead rigging, including counterweights, must be secured from unintentional movement in any direction.
5. Counterweights used with outrigger beams must be of a non-flow-able material and fastened to the beam.
6. Outrigger beams that do not use counterweights must be installed and secured on the roof structure with devices specifically designed for that purpose.
7. Tie back all transportable rigging devices with wire rope and hardware that has strength equal to the hoist rope.
8. Install tiebacks at right angles to the face of the building and secure without slack to a structurally sound portion of the structure. In the event tiebacks cannot be installed at right angles, use two tiebacks at opposing angles to prevent movement.
9. Rig so that suspension points are directly above the hoisting machines.
10. The platform must be secured to prevent swaying. Do not tie it to window cleaning anchors.
WIRE ROPE AND HARDWARE GUIDELINES:
1. Use only wire rope and attachments as specified by the hoisting machine manufacturer. Do not use wire rope that is kinked, bird-caged, corroded, undersized, or damaged in any way.
2. Be sure that wire rope is long enough to reach to the lowest possible landing.
3. Clean, lubricate and handle wire rope in accordance with the wire rope or hoist manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Coil and uncoil wire rope in accordance with the wire rope or hoist manufacturer’s instructions in order to avoid kinks and damage.
5. Use thimbles at all wire rope suspension terminations.
6. Use J-type clamps or swaged fittings to fasten wire ropes. Do not use U-Clamps.
7. Tighten wire rope clamps in accordance with the clamp manufacturer.
8. Wire ropes used with traction hoists must have prepared ends in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
9. Inspect wire rope during each ascent and decent. Do not expose wire rope to fire, undue heat, corrosive atmosphere, chemicals, or to passage of electrical currents or to damage by tools or handling.
POWER SUPPLY GUIDELINES:
1. Be sure your power supply conforms to hoist manufacturer’s recommendations.
2. Ground all electrical power sources, power cord connections and protect with circuit breakers.
3. Use power cords or air hoses of proper size that are long enough for the job.
4. Power cord or air hose connections must be restrained to prevent their separation.
5. Tie off power cords or air hose to the suspended scaffold to prevent them from falling.
6. Protect power cords or air hoses at sharp edges.
7. Remember, air hoists require clean, lubricated air.
FALL ARREST EQUIPMENT GUIDELINES:
1. Each person on a suspended powered scaffold must be attached to a fall arrest system at all times.
2. Each lifeline must be fastened to a separate anchorage.
When wrapping lifelines around structural members the lines must be protected and a suitable anchorage system must be used.
3. Protect lifelines at sharp corners to prevent chafing.
4. Rig fall arrest systems to prevent free fall in excess of six feet.
5. Lifelines must be suspended freely without contact with structural members or building facade.
6. Use a lifeline size and construction that is compatible with fall arrester and complies with applicable safety codes.
7. Be sure fall arrester is installed on the lifeline in the proper direction above your head and in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations.
8. Use a body support device that is properly sized and fitted.
9. Be sure body support device has lanyard attached to the D-ring at the center of the back.
For more information on scaffold safety practices, visit the SICA website at http://www.scaffoldaccess.ca/home.php
Remember, posting these guidelines at your place of work could lives.