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scaffold training Archives | DH Glabe & Associates

Pop Quiz: 30 Questions About Scaffolding

By | Blog, OSHA Standards & Regulations, Scaffold Bracing, Scaffold Components, Scaffolding, Scaffolding Planks, Scaffolding Platforms | No Comments

CAN YOU ANSWER THIS?

It is somewhat surprising how creative workers can get when it involves scaffolding.  Just when it seems all the questions have been answered, along comes a question that raises an issue that was never addressed.  Challenge yourself to these questions and see if your answer agrees with the one given at the end of this article.

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Do You Know Suspended Scaffolds?

By | Cantilever Beam, Hoists, Scaffolding | No Comments

Are you familiar with suspended scaffolds?  Do you know the difference between a suspended scaffold and a hanging scaffold?  Well, here’s a chance to show your friends and neighbors how well you know suspended scaffolds.  Take this quiz and see if you are the best of the best.

The answers are at the bottom of the page—no cheating!

 True or False

  1. ____A suspended scaffold is the same as a hanging scaffold.
  2. ____Outrigger scaffolds are one type of suspended scaffolds.
  3. ____You don’t need to utilize personal fall protection on a Multi-point Suspended Scaffold.
  4. ____Suspended scaffold users do not need any training if they are not operating the hoists on a suspended scaffold.
  5. ____Access is not required for a suspended scaffold.
  6. ____Counterweights for a cantilever beam can be ice or Jell-O.
  7. ____The safety factor for wire suspension ropes is at least 8.
  8. ____Counterweights cannot be used to stabilize outrigger beams on Mason Multi-point suspended scaffolds.
  9. ____Guardrails are not required on two point suspended scaffolds if all the occupants are wearing personal fall arrest   equipment.
  10. ___Guardrails or equivalent are required on Boatswains’ chair scaffolds.
  11. ___Outrigger beams secured directly to the roof do not require tiebacks.
  12. ___Suspended scaffolds shall be designed by a competent person and installed under the supervision of a qualified person, competent in scaffold erection.
  13. ___Vertical pickup means a rope used to support the horizontal rope in catenary scaffolds.
  14. ___Tiebacks only need to be one half the strength of the suspension ropes since they are there for back-up, not suspension.
  15. ___Sand can be used as a counterweight provided it is in a sealed strong metal container.

 

Now for the tough part, fill in the blank!

  1. When wire rope clips are used on suspension scaffolds, there shall be a minimum of ________ installed per connection.
  2. A stage rated for two workers or 500 pounds can support ________workers.
  3. Ropes shall be inspected for defects by a competent person prior to each ___________.
  4. Manually operated hoists shall require a _________crank force to descend.
  5. Wire rope clips shall be installed according to the __________recommendations.
  6. A two-point suspended scaffold is supported by _________ suspension ropes.
  7. Two-point suspended scaffold platforms shall not be more than ______inches wide unless it is designed by a ________person to prevent _________conditions.
  8. Suspension scaffold means one or more platforms suspended by _____ or other _______means from an overhead structure.
  9. The toprail of a suspended scaffold guardrail system must be able to withstand a force of at least ________pounds.

 

True or False Answers:

  1. False.  A hanging scaffold is constructed with rigid tubes while a suspended scaffold hangs from ropes.
  2. False.  Outrigger Scaffolds are a type of supported scaffold.
  3. True.  You need to install a guardrail system.
  4. False.  All scaffold users need training.
  5. False.  Proper access is required for all scaffolds.
  6. False.  The ice may melt and you might eat the Jell-O.
  7. False.  The minimum safety factor is 6.
  8. True.  The beams must be anchored to the supporting structure.
  9. False.  A guardrail system and PFE is required.
  10. False.  How do you attach a guardrail to a chair?
  11. True.
  12. False.  Suspended scaffolds shall be designed by a qualified person and installed under the supervision of a competent person, qualified in scaffold erection.
  13. True.
  14. False.  Tiebacks must be equal in strength to the suspension rope.
  15. True.  While not recommended, as long as the sand cannot leak out, it’s okay.
Fill in the Blank Answers:
  1. 3
  2. Depends on the weight of the workers.  You can put 5 on if they only weigh 125 pounds each.  Alternatively, if Bubba weighs 400 pounds, only he can be on it.
  3. Workshift.
  4. Positive.
  5. Manufacturer’s
  6. 2
  7. 36, qualified, unstable
  8. Ropes, non-rigid
  9. 100

This is Training?

By | OSHA Standards & Regulations, Resources, Scaffolding | No Comments

Some thoughts on scaffold training:

 

User training is optional:  OSHA requires that all scaffold users be trained in the awareness of certain hazards prior, that’s right, prior to getting on a scaffold.  This training is to be provided by a qualified person.  That would be somebody that knows about scaffolding.  Well, actually that would be somebody that really does know something about scaffolding.  This is important stuff.  Believe it or not, all of us in the scaffold business rely on this training to keep scaffold occupants safe.  This user training is a critical component of the overall training requirements that is expected of all participants.  Is this concept, so excellently specified in the OSHA scaffold standards, effective?  I don’t think so.  And it isn’t because the standard isn’t written well or that it doesn’t “fit.”  It’s because people don’t understand the importance of user training and worse yet, don’t seem to care about user training.

 

Wallet cards and certificates verify the scaffold training is adequate:  It seems everybody wants one (or a million) of these things.  For some reason, certain scaffold erectors like to have these things because they think that is what OSHA, safety managers, and bosses are looking for.  Ask an erector if he has a wallet card and he gets all excited.  Out comes the billfold and a zillion wallet cards to show that not only has he been trained but he has proof!  It really doesn’t matter that he doesn’t know anything about scaffolding; he’s got the card.  Remember, wallet cards are meaningless if the card holder cannot demonstrate a knowledge of scaffolding.

 

What makes a scaffold trainer qualified?  The infamous wallet card may reveal a more sinister activity that is worse than a useless wallet card.  It’s the trainer that doesn’t know what he/she is talking about.  Certain trainers assume that since they know something about safety, that they are qualified to provide scaffold training.  They may also assume that since they have a college degree, that they can teach anything.  Others assume that since they have worked with scaffolding forever that qualifies them to provided scaffold training.  Still others conclude that their affiliation with an organization automatically gives them the right to provide scaffold training.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  A qualified trainer is an individual who knows the subject matter and can accurately provide that information to the student.

 

Scaffold training automatically makes a person competent:  Here’s another strange interpretation, if you will, of the training requirements.  The student desires to become a “competent” person in scaffolding.  (A variation on this theme is the “certified person”, whatever that is.)  This potential student seeks out the training center that can offer this competent person training.  Since the charlatans are delighted to fleece the ignorant, the so-called qualified trainer happily obliges for certain financial compensation.   The trainer gets his money, the student becomes competent.  Guess what?  It doesn’t work that way.  Training does not necessarily equal competency.  A wallet card does not equal competency.  Competency is demonstrated, not certificated.  Besides, to be competent, you must have authority.  That authority comes only from the employer.  It does not come from the trainer (unless the boss is the trainer), nor does it come from OSHA.

 

Wallet cards are meaningless if the skill isn’t there:  The training is meaningless if done by an unqualified instructor.  Don’t get me wrong.  A wallet card is handy to have to show the inquirer that you have had training.  But the wallet card does nothing more.  It certainly doesn’t give you knowledge, expertise, or experience.  There is no magic here.  You have to work at gaining knowledge and you have to work at being able to provide that knowledge to others.  Reading the regulations in front of a group of people is not training.  Being the foreman doesn’t automatically make you qualified to be a scaffold instructor.  Being a scaffold company owner doesn’t qualify you either.

 

Scaffold training must be done by an OSHA certified instructor:  There is no such person nor does OSHA require it.  OSHA has not approved any individual to perform scaffold training.  If someone tells you that he/she is OSHA certified, challenge this person for authentic documentation.

 

Scaffold training is required every year:  This is not true.  What is true is that scaffold training is required when the employee who will be using a specific scaffold is unfamiliar with that type of scaffold and/or is unfamiliar with the applicable OSHA standards.  Training, or more accurately, retraining, is required whenever the employee forgets the training.  For some workers, retraining may be required every day!

 

A scaffold competent person is required to know the OSHA scaffold standards:  This is absolutely correct.  How can you be a competent person if you don’t know what the expectations are?  If you don’t know, for example, when fall protection is required, how would you ever know if the scaffold is safe?  It’s ridiculous to declare a person competent if this individual doesn’t know the rules.

 

If you are looking for scaffold training, carefully screen the prospective trainer.  Make sure he/she not only has the credentials, but knows the subject matter.  If the trainer offers to make you a competent person as defined by OSHA, offers to make you certified, or tells you that he/she is OSHA approved, look for another trainer.  If you offer training, make sure you know what you are talking about.  Familiarity with OSHA regulations is only part of the qualifications to be a good trainer.  Likewise, familiarity with scaffolding is only part of the qualifications.  The Scaffold Industry Association offers training programs that encompass all aspects of a complete training program.  Make use of these programs.  Your life depends on it.

What’s In Training?

By | OSHA Standards & Regulations, Resources, Scaffolding | No Comments

What can be said about scaffold training that hasn’t been said already?  You should be aware that training is required for all employees involved with scaffolds.  This training goes beyond the training originally required in the General Safety and Health Provisions of the US Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, Construction Standards.  In fact, the scaffold standards require specific training for users, erectors, and inspectors, and others as specified in  29CFR1926.454.  Unfortunately, there appears to be considerable misinformation concerning scaffold training so let’s review some facts and fiction of scaffold training:

 

Fact:

 

  • Training for employees has been required since 1971;
  • One definition of training is “the education, instruction, or discipline of a person or thing that is being trained.” (Webster’s Universal College Dictionary);
  • Training for scaffold users is to be done by a qualified person;
  • A competent person is an individual who can identify hazards that will result in serious injury or death, and  has authority to do something about the hazard;
  • No trainer (that would be the person giving the training) can make you a competent person;
  • OSHA cannot make you a competent person;
  • A certificate or wallet card does not make you competent;
  • Only the employer can make an employee a competent person;
  • A qualified instructor can give you training so you can become a competent person;
  • Competency is demonstrated, not certificated;
  • Not all scaffold instructors are qualified;
  • A good training course will include topics and information that goes beyond the OSHA minimum training requirements;
  • OSHA never intended the training standards to limit the training you get (it really is okay to get more training than the minimum required by the regulations);
  • The OSHA training standards require that you receive retraining if you forgot your training (The suggests that re-retraining is required if you forgot the retraining and so on until you get it right!);
  • The OSHA Training Institute offers a scaffold course;
  • The Scaffold Industry Association offers a variety of scaffolding courses, including suspended and supported scaffold classes;
  • The Scaffold Industry Association has scaffold courses for both the user and the professional scaffold erector;
  • The Scaffold Industry Association is translating its programs into Spanish;
  • The Scaffold Industry Association is compiling a database of multi-lingual instructors;
  • The Scaffold Industry Association is expanding the courses that are available for you to use;

 

 

 

Fiction:

 

  • It only takes four hours to take the OSHA ten hour class;
  • A scaffold instructor can make you a competent person;
  • Anybody can be a scaffold instructor;
  • Limited scaffold training cannot be completed in less than eight hours;
  • Erectors do not need training;
  • Sales people do not need training;
  • Engineers do not need training;
  • OSHA compliance officers do not need training;
  • OSHA provides sufficient funding for training;
  • OSHA certifies scaffold erectors;
  • Scaffold erectors are exempt from training;
  • A wallet card proves you are trained;
  • Training can only be done by the employer;
  • Only an OSHA “certified” instructor can do scaffold training.

 

This issue of scaffold training can be confusing, especially if you don’t understand the requirements and expectations.  Consulting a qualified person will help.  However, the bottom line is this:  Anybody involved with scaffolding should understand his or her limitations, realizing that another individual’s life may be at risk.  Safety is everybody’s business, and it is serious business.

The Art of Science and Training

By | OSHA Standards & Regulations, Resources, Scaffolding | No Comments

 “To teach so as to make fit, qualified or proficient.”  That’s what Mr. Webster says about training in the ninth edition of his dictionary.   While that definition can easily be applied to scaffold training, the outcome of training is the real measure of whether someone is fit, qualified, or proficient.  This definition requires that the trainer is also fit, qualified and proficient.  What this means is that if training is expected to be effective, the trainer better know his stuff!

 

Before we can even worry about the quality or accuracy of scaffold training though, funds to provide training are necessary.  Historically, training has been minimal due to misguided fears of losing a trained worker to the competition and the lack of profit motive to provide training.  Only recently has it been recognized that training can be an effective tool to increase productivity, reduce lost time accidents, and thus boost profits.  Until recently, user training has been almost non-existent; it only now has received a boost due primarily to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) requirement that all users of scaffolds be trained.  In spite of the fact that scaffold training is required, training funds for compliance officers, believe it or not, has been less than adequate.  Unfortunately, this has been true since the inception of OSHA.  One would think that the agency that mandates training would at least provide for the proper training of those charged with the very enforcement of the training standards.

Interestingly, many assumptions are made in the evaluation of both the trainer and the trainee.  Although there are numerous training programs available for scaffold users, inspectors, compliance officers, and erectors, the programs incorporate information and techniques that may or may not be accurate.  Further complicating the situation is that program costs vary dramatically and typically do not accurately indicate the effectiveness of the training.   Couple this with false perceptions of quality or expertise and all scaffold training effectively becomes, well ineffective.  Wallet cards and certificates frequently become the measure of program quality or at least as an acceptable measure of adequacy, relegating course content to the category of inconsequence.  The end result is training that has no content, only a title, and the intent of the standards produces counterproductive results.

 

So then, what constitutes training that meets not only the intent of the standards, but also provides meaningful information for students?  The Federal OSHA Standards state it quite well in requiring that the training be supplied by qualified instructors, individuals who have the knowledge, expertise, experience, and training to not only recognize the hazards associated with scaffolding, but also have the ability to explain those hazards and the solutions to mitigate those hazards, to students.  No longer does it suffice that the instructor knows how to read the standards or has some safety training.  The scaffold student deserves more and should expect more.  While the Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) Scaffold Training Program is one example of a comprehensive, and systematic, approach to proper training, it, and all other programs, require instructors sho are knowledgeable in the subject.  In other words, the program is only as good as the individual instructing it.  Membership in the SIA, or any other organization, does not necessarily indicate expertise in scaffold safety and usage.  Being able to sell, rent, or erect scaffold doesn’t automatically qualify anybody either.  On the other hand, advanced degrees in safety, engineering, marketing or education doesn’t automatically qualify the individual either.

 

You are on your own when it comes to determining who the qualified instructor is.  No minimum standards have been set by any agency to help the employer determine a good instructor.  OSHA has not accepted the responsibility to establish minimum criteria for instructors other than what is currently specified in the training requirements of the construction industry scaffold standards (29CFR1926.454).  It is my opinion the Scaffold Industry Association should assume the responsibility for establishing minimum criteria for scaffold instructors.  This will be a benefit to members and non-members alike.  It will set the benchmark for determining the quality of the instruction and enable the scaffold user, erector, and others to acquire the knowledge to work safely and efficiently on scaffolds.

The Business of Training

By | OSHA Standards & Regulations, Resources, Scaffolding | No Comments

“To teach so as to make fit, qualified or proficient.”  That’s what Mr. Webster says about training in the ninth edition of his dictionary.   While that definition can easily be applied to scaffold training, the outcome of training is the real measure of whether someone is fit, qualified, or proficient.  This definition requires that the trainer is also fit, qualified and proficient.  What this means is that if training is to be effective, the trainer better know his stuff!

 

Before we can even worry about the quality or accuracy of scaffold training though, funds to provide training are necessary.  Historically, training has been minimal due in part to misguided fears of losing a trained worker to the competition and the lack of profit motive to provide training. Only recently has it been recognized that training can be an effective tool to increase productivity, reduce lost time accidents, and thus boost profits.  User training has been almost non-existent; it only now has received a boost due primarily to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) requirement that all users of scaffolds be trained. Even OSHA hasn’t adequately funded the training of their own compliance officers, suggesting to employers that training isn’t really that important after all. One would think that the agency that mandates training would at least provide for the proper training of those charged with the very enforcement of the training standards.

Many assumptions are made in the evaluation of both the trainer and the trainee.  Although there are numerous training programs available for scaffold users, inspectors, compliance officers, and erectors, the programs incorporate information and techniques that may or may not be accurate.  Further complicating the situation is that program costs vary dramatically and typically do not accurately indicate the effectiveness of the training.   Couple this with false perceptions of quality or expertise and all scaffold training effectively becomes, well ineffective.  Wallet cards and certificates frequently become the measure of program quality or at least as an acceptable measure of adequacy, relegating course content to the category of inconsequence.  The end result is training that has no content, only a title, and the intent of the standards produces counterproductive results.

 

So then, what constitutes training that meets not only the intent of the standards, but also provides meaningful information for students?  The Federal OSHA Standards state it quite well in requiring that the training be provided by qualified instructors, individuals who have the knowledge, expertise, experience, and training to not only recognize the hazards associated with scaffolding, but also have the ability to explain those hazards and the solutions to mitigate those hazards, to students.  No longer does it suffice that the instructor knows how to read the standards or has some safety training.  The scaffold student deserves more and should expect more.  While the Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) Scaffold Training Program is one example of a comprehensive, and systematic, approach to proper training, it, and all other programs, require instructors who are knowledgeable in the subject.  In other words, the program is only as good as the individual instructing it.  Membership in the SIA, or any other organization, does not necessarily indicate expertise in scaffold safety and usage.  Being able to sell, rent, or erect scaffold doesn’t automatically qualify an individual.  Advanced degrees in safety, engineering, marketing or education doesn’t automatically qualify the individual either.

 

At the present time, you are on your own when it comes to determining who the qualified instructor is.  No minimum standards have been set by any agency to help the employer determine a good instructor.  OSHA has not accepted the responsibility to establish minimum criteria for instructors other than what is currently specified in the training requirements of the construction industry scaffold standards (29CFR1926.454).  It is my opinion the Scaffold Industry Association should assume the responsibility for establishing minimum criteria for scaffold instructors.  This will be a benefit to members and non-members alike.  It will set the benchmark for determining the quality of the instruction and enable the scaffold user, erector, and others to acquire the knowledge to work safely and efficiently on scaffolds.  What do you think?