Getting to and from work platforms is important to both job site safety and work production. Donley's recommends these work practices to ensure safe access and egress to and from wall form work platforms, regardless if the form is a gang form or a handset system.
- Once the wall form work platform is constructed, ladders or other approved methods such as ramps, stairways, or the building floor must be used to access it. If the elevation change is greater than 19" when stepping from the floor to the work platform, install a step for safe access.
- Workers are not permitted to climb the form or rebar to gain access to a wall form work platform. It makes no difference that a worker is tied-off during the climbing process. The hazard with 100% tie-off while climbing the form to access a work platform involves the positions workers are in as they attempt to climb on and off the work platform. In addition, the vertical form itself does not have the same climbing characteristics as a ladder.
- Climbing the vertical face of the wall form is permitted only when work is performed on the form (i.e., when installing or removing taper-ties). There is normally no other way to accomplish these work tasks. However, in the case of accessing work platforms, other methods are available. Make sure walls are braced before climbing.
- When performing work off a work platform, fall protection is required if your feet are 6' or more above a lower level. This is typically provided through the use of guardrails on the back side of the working platform and ensuring the platform is at least 39" below the top of the form. If this is not feasible, there are a few options available:
Falling onto rebar is a serious hazard as well. When working over rebar, the rebar must be protected. Wood or metal reinforced plastic rebar caps must be used. Standard plastic rebar caps that are not reinforced are not approved protection.
- Install a 2nd working platform, complete with guardrails, on the opposite side of the wall form.
- Install a guardrail system at the standard 21" (midrail) and 42" (top rail) heights on the opposite side of the wall form.
- Practice 100% fall protection using retractable lanyards. (This is the last resort to be used only if nothing else is feasible.) Anchorage point for 6' shock absorbing lanyards must be 18.5' from the lower level and 14.5' for retractable lanyards.
Javier Pabon is a Regional Safety Manager for Donley's Concrete Group.