OSHA Guide to Scaffold Use in Construction

OSHA’s Safety Standards for Scaffolds publication.  This informational booklet is intended to provide a generic, non-exhaustive guide to scaffold use in construction. This publication does not itself alter or determine compliance responsibilities, which are set forth in OSHA standards themselves and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

OSHA also has a list of publications covering many other issues that effect business operations.  Most of these can be downloaded and used as handouts.  They are also offered in different languages.

They also offer links to online training for the OSHA 10 hr, 30 hr. construction courses and also the 10 hr. and 30 hr. general industry course.

Moreover, because interpretations and enforcement policy may change over time, for additional guidance on OSHA compliance requirements, the reader should consult current administrative interpretations and decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the courts.

Material contained in this publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced, fully or partially, without permission of the Federal Government. Source credit is requested but not required.

Choosing the Right Vibratory Plate Compactor

bird watermark GP2000 emailWhen looking for a vibratory plate compactor it is very difficult to compare different manufacturers because they use different specifications to rate there plates. I have found two sources to make the comparisons of different manufactures easier. First is an article Light Compaction Equipment Specifications that explains basic information about vibratory plates. It is a little technical in nature but it does give you information on the process of how vibratory plates work. The second item is a calculator that will give you the ability to compare plate amplitude of different manufactures.  Both these references are put out by MBW Inc. They are the last company I know of that still makes vibratory plate compactor here is the USA.

Battery Powered Scaffold

Granite Industries has developed a new product that is designed to help eliminate OSHA citations when using narrow rolling scaffold.   When working on narrow scaffold the wheels must be locked.  When employees are doing repetitive work, which require constant moving of the scaffold from one location to another,  employees tend to forget to lock the casters.  In some cases they move the scaffold while on it. Trades that do this can be painters, electricians, and ceiling installers.  Granite has developed a motorized narrow scaffold that will eliminate the issue of not locking the casters and also increase production by eliminating the need to get down off the scaffold to move it.  The product is called Power Snappy.  It is available in three sizes.  It is battery powered by two 12 volt sealed batteries, has a built in battery charger, all controlled by a joy stick while standing on the work platform.  It can transported easily, both to and around the job site and will fit on a standard elevator.

OSHA Ladder Safety Training

OSHA ladder safety training is an important aspect of your training program.  Bird Ladder has many options for you in this area.  We do on site training at a cost of $10.00/ per employee plus traveling expense.  Our next option is to purchase the Werner  Climbing Pro Safety Kit at $ 20.00.  It is a kit which your safety director  can use (in both English and Spanish)  is his training program.  A third option is to use the on line program from Werner.  We also have available a program for pump jacks.

Fall Protection Video

This fall protection video outlines the steps to develop safe practices when working from heights including a fall protection plan and proper protection equipment.

On April 10, at 11 a.m. EST, OSHA’s Director of Construction Jim Maddux, and NIOSH’s Director of Construction Safety and Health, Dr. Christine Branche, will co-moderate a webinar to discuss ways of stopping the leading killer of construction workers – falls from heights. To register for the free webinar and to learn more about efforts by OSHA, NIOSH and CPWR to protect construction workers from fatal falls, visit the registration

Norseman Drill Bits

Norseman Drill company is made in Minnesota, another great company that is doing their best to keep jobs in America.  They have a huge line of product, but all we really carry are the 175-AG style bit.  These bits are their top of the line “super premium” bit.  The reason we carry this one is that it has 3 flats on the shaft.  Most of us use drills that have quick chucks, and the flats are great for hand drills.  The 135 degree split point also makes it a top quality bit.  We have used these to drill stainless with no problem.

Preventing Theft

Unfortunately in the world today, we have to lock our doors and be concerned about preventing theft.  But, such is life.  There are two products that exist to address this for contractors.  It is surprising to me that both of them were created outside of Chicago.  The first solution was created by American Lock Company, which has been purchased by Masterlock.  Both use the hockey puck style locks, and there are distinct advantages and disadvantages.  I will discuss both.  First the original American Lock 800, this product can be used to secure swinging doors on a van.  The Hockey puck lock is protected on all sides and is very secure.  The second solution is the Slick Lock, this utilizes the locking mechanism on the door of the vehicle and works really well on new vehicles.

Since both systems utilize the hockey puck locks, I will discuss the other differences.  The Slick Lock is great for new vehicles, you don’t have to drill any holes, and it works on sliding doors.  This is really important, as the American lock doesn’t have a solution for sliders.  The disadvantage of the slick lock is that on old vans they often won’t work, because the hinges are sagging or the doors are a bit out of alignment.  Now, that being said the other necessity for the slick lock is the spinner, this is so someone can’t take a 48″ pipe wrench and grab the hockey puck lock twist it off.

So the advantage of the American lock 800 is that it is very secure and it can be installed on older vehicles as long as the doors close. The disadvantage is that you have to drill six holes in your vehicle.  That equals rust in Wisconsin.  We use stainless hardware when we install it, and caulk it, but sooner or later it will rust.

The other two necessities are the covers which keep snow, ice, salt, etc. out of the hockey puck lock itself.  The Reda Guard, was also invented in Illinois, it works with the American Lock 800.  Slick Lock has their own cover, because the Reda Guard doesn’t work with the spinners.

Securing Vehicle Loads

rack-strap-rs-1-silverAnyone who hauls equipment on your vehicle knows how important it is to keep it secure. We have a few different products that make it easy securing vehicle loads. We don’t recommend using bungee cords. Being in Milwaukee Wisconsin, we have a lot of cold weather, and actually I know a person whose bungee cord snapped and he got hooked in the cheek just like a fish. So, the two products we recommend are the buckle tie down straps, and the Rack-Strap. The Buckle Tie down straps are available in different sizes and are significantly less money. They are imported, so they are cheap but effective. The best way for securing equipment or products to a truck or van rack is clearly the Rack-Strap. This product is made in Oregon, it can be bolted or welded to your rack, and has different models for different types of racks. We have two pair of rack-straps mounted on our vehicles. The other reason that the rack straps are great is because they are always there.

Werner Fall Protection Full Body Harness

Werner has three basic types of fastening systems on there Full Body Harnesses. Parachute, Quick connect, and Tongue Buckle. Everything they manufacture has 5 point adjustment.  We would not recommend 3 point adjustment on a harness due to circulation issues if a fall does occur.


The parachute  or pass-through style is the least expensive and comes on the harnesses that are generally less than $50.

You will find it in the roofers kits, and any price point product.  Again, beware of three point adjustment.

This is the worst type of fastening system. It constantly is loosening up, and creates a situation where the worker is not “fitted” properly and can be fined by OSHA.


The Quick connect is the most expensive version available, this was created to make it quick to disconnect with your gloves on.

There are certain scenarios that this may be necessary.

Generally though, this buckle is harder to adjust for comfort and is similar to the parachute buckle in the loosening up part.


The Tongue Buckle, is the middle of the road in price.  But it is far and away the best type of fastening system. There are two reasons: first is that it is a fixed in place, it will not loosen up on you. The second is that it is very easy to adjust.

Here are some harnesses made by Werner Ladder.