As I plug away at the rest of my carrer in the scaffold industry I keep comming across the same requests for information. "What does OSHA says about spanning tubes?" or "How long can my horizontal be before I need to use a truss bearer?" I wanted to make sure all of us insiders are clear on where to go when we start searching for answers to these questions and other that plauge us. Before you whip out the total BS answer that you heard from that one guy you worked with back in '68 I think we should clarify what types of questions there are and where the best place to seek an answer is. I also think we should clairfy which organazations pertain to us and how they interact with us as an industry. That being said I am no expert, and do not pretend to be the all knowing but I do know a few things that I will share here. Since this is a blog post and you can add your own comments please feel free to correct me if needed and to add any other information you think needs to be posted here. Since this is a deep topic I may tackel this one in pieces and come back with corrections and changes as we go.Please remember that eventually I would like to have people from the industry participate here reguardless of what company they work for so please leave the company bashing on your own Facebook, or MySpace pages. And away we go...
Organazations Related to and Governing the Scaffold IndustryThere are several organazations that are related to goverining the scaffold industry as a whole and I will try to give you the Cliff Notes version of each agency and how they relate to us.
1: O.S.H.A. - Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This is the US federal government office for maintaing a minimum standard for keep employees safe. This is the minimum acceptable safety standard for using scaffold as an employee of a company. OSHA only deals with the employer to employee relationship. This is a commonly overlooked fact when trying to explain a position dealing with design standards of a particular componenent. This is also one of the most frequently miscited organazation by an individual basing an assumption on the thing that one guy told me back in ' 68. OSHA does not endorse products or ban products per sey. They can use the standards to explain why a product is complaint or not but they do not approve or endorse anything. Any product that uses the term "OSHA approved" should be inspected using this knowledge. Does this mean the product is compliant or are they trying to actually say that OSHA has endorsed their product? Another item of intrest when reviewing OSHA standards is they are the bare minimum requiremnets for working safely in the United States. You need to check and make sure that your state, and your employer do not have more stringent regulations for the topic at hand. Many states have their own programs. A few I can think of are Michiagan, California and Washington all have state programs that exceed Federal OSHA.
Next time I get time I will be giving my short version of what ANSI, or the American National Standards Institue, does for us and how they interact with OSHA. Until then keep your scaffold up and your boots down.