Earlier this month, Vertical Access technicians Joe Haun and Kristen Olson attended a 16-Hour Suspended Scaffold User Course at TSC Training Academy in Long Island City, Queens. Completion of the course is required for anyone working on a suspended scaffold or performing industrial rope access work in New York City. (Access the NYC DOB Industrial Rope Access Fact Sheet here)
Suspended scaffolds, also called swing stages, are work positioning platforms that hang from overhead supports. They are used by window washers, façade inspectors, and people performing work of all types on tall buildings and other structures.
Over the two-day training course, Joe and Kristen learned about the regulations governing the use of suspended scaffolds in New York City, the components of a suspended scaffold system, and how to inspect equipment and identify hazards. Hands-on portions of the course included knot tying, assembling wire rope terminations, and raising and lowering a two-person motorized suspended scaffold.
Using suspended scaffolds requires safety procedures similar to those used in industrial rope access, including daily inspections of equipment, careful selection of tieback and lifeline anchors, and generous safety factors for all components of the system. As with rope access systems, workers on suspended scaffolds must use a fall arrest system including a backup or safety line attached to a full body harness. And, suspended scaffold users should be able to visually inspect the entire scaffold system and identify potential hazards, even if the rigging was performed by another worker.