Perform façade work safely

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

The first rule of performing façade work while on a scaffold: Don’t do it unless you’ve completed scaffold safety training, warns a recent worker alert from the New York City Department of Buildings.

“Façade work performed on scaffolding can be extremely dangerous,” the alert states, “and proper care must be taken at all times to prevent death or serious injury.”

To help ensure safety when doing façade work, follow this guidance from the department:
Know your equipment. Workers need to be trained before stepping onto a scaffold.
Wear fall protection. Employers are required to provide fall protection when workers are on a supported scaffold with no guardrails, or anytime work is being performed on an adjustable suspended scaffold. “Wearing a harness is not enough,” the department says. “You must be tied off to a secured lifeline for it to work.”
Use extreme care when removing coping stones. “Do not remove the coping stone or any stones used to cap freestanding walls unless directed by your supervisor.”
Parapet walls should be demolished from the coping down. Don’t demo individual bricks or masonry blocks – remaining wythes may become unstable. Make sure that remaining parapet walls adjacent to demolition will not become unstable.
Look for loose material. “Alert your supervisor immediately if you notice a parapet, cornice, chimney or other brickwork that is loose or seems like it could fall off the building.” Tiebacks need to be properly anchored.
Secure tarps. Don’t lean any items such as debris bags or construction materials against the parapet wall. “Tarps and other temporary weather protection must be secured at the end of the work shift so they cannot be accidentally dislodged or come loose.”

One final piece of advice: “Do not work on a suspended scaffold that has a stand-off bracket.”

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

COVID-19 pandemic: UK manufacturing association issues guidance for scaffold tower users


Photo: FooTToo/iStockphoto

London — In an effort to protect workers who use scaffold towers from exposure to COVID-19, the UK-based Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ and Manufacturers’ Association has published guidelines for employers and safety and health professionals.

The guidance notes that two workers normally would work in close proximity to erect a tower. However, workers should make “a conscious effort … to complete the task while remaining [6 feet] apart.” For instance, one worker can assemble the base section of a scaffold tower and install stabilizers before climbing onto the first platform. Then, another worker can assist with building the rest of structure from the ground.

“However, a more reliable method may be using one-person towers, which are specially designed to be built and dismantled by one individual working alone,” PASMA states.

Other recommendations:

  • Follow government health guidance.
  • Provide workers with handwashing facilities and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Plan more frequent deep cleaning of facilities and scaffold components.
  • Encourage workers to practice safe physical distancing.
  • Communicate all safety measures to employees.
  • Review and assess your risk assessment plan, as well as how it might be impacted by COVID-19.
  • Review your rescue plan to determine how a worker who becomes ill or injured would be rescued.
  • Plan online scaffold training sessions for portions that can be taught remotely.
  • Make sure training facilities keep workers safe when conducting in-person courses.