A Crash Course in Planks
The jobsite can seem like an endless opportunity for accidents, injuries and – yes – dreaded OSHA fines. Fortunately, when armed with the correct information, you have control over this situation. Knowledge is power, and no one knows this better than Kennison Forest Products’ VP and General Manager, Jared Kennison. Masonry sat down with Kennison to learn all we could about evaluating and inspecting your planks, and keeping OSHA happy. Following is what he had to say.
Jared Kennison: All legitimate scaffold plank suppliers offer inspection and storage information that widely adopted in the industry. The most common damage or “caused defect” seen today is end splits. This is when the end separates over time, due to abuse or wet/dry exposure. If the length of the end split exceeds the width of the piece, the contractor should cut back the plank to a shorter length or take it out of service.
It is very important to inspect your scaffold planks routinely for all types of damage or abuse. This must be done by a “qualified” or “competent” person. OSHA Safety and Health Standards and Scaffold Industry Association defines “qualified person” as one who, by possession of a recognized degree, certificate or professional standing or by extensive knowledge training and experience, has successfully demonstrated the ability to solve or resolve problems relating to the subject matter, the work or the project. The Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA) makes a Solid Sawn and LVL Pocket Hand Book that is an excellent reference for inspection and storage. Bottom line: When in doubt, throw it out.
Visual inspection, proper handling and storage are the best ways of ensuring safe performance of DI-65 and Laminated scaffold planks. Following are other things to look for.
Regarding scaffold plank storage, keep scaffold planks dry, since strength and performance are reduced by moisture. Store planks in a dry, well-ventilated area. Storage in wet or unventilated areas will accelerate wood decay and plank deterioration. Always allow wet planks to dry quickly by providing proper air circulation.
Protect planks from extreme weather conditions, including excessive exposure to water and temperatures exceeding 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Store planks under a roof or porous cover that will shed water, but allow moisture to escape. Keep planks stacked in bundles off the ground and supported by stickers spaced no more than eight feet apart. Line up the stickers between the bundles with the ground stickers. This will allow easy forklift access and provide air circulation. Misalignment of the stickers can damage the planks by creating a bow. Do not store heavy objects on the planks.
Kennison: Cutting damaged planks into mudsills or non-useable lengths is a good way to prevent future use. Never dump or abandon a damaged plank, since the discarded plank may end up being used by someone else. When discarding contaminated planks, assure they are disposed of properly per any regulatory requirement, based on the type of contamination.
It is never a good idea to burn damaged planks as a means of disposal. The different chemicals associated with concrete, mortar and plaster may emit harmful fumes, and cause particles to become airborne, polluting the air.
Kennison: When contractors are looking for suppliers of OSHA-compliant, solid sawn scaffold plank, they should assure each plank has the following features:
When contractors are looking for suppliers of OSHA-compliant, LVL scaffold plank, they should assure each plank has the markings of:
|Last Updated on Monday, 09 April 2012 15:33|