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  1. 1. Selecting the Best Solution for Access Challenges in the Air,Around Curves, in Tight Corners and Underneath StructuresExecutive SummarySituationEconomic factors have prompted industrial and commercial construction companiesto work with smaller budgets and tighter project timelines; while scaffolding andaccess challenges under bridges, inside boilers and separation vessels, offshore, andin/around buildings have continued to increase. Suspended access solutions can oftenbe used to effectively address design and structural issues and offer a higher degreeof efficiency, saving both time and money. However, choosing the best solution for aspecific application is not always easy.ChallengeAccording to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there areeight types of suspended access available. Sometimes a simple, cost-effective systemcan provide needed access, but seeking a solution based on cost alone is likely tobackfire. Inexpensive suspended access solutions can be time-consuming to erect, mayprovide an unstable working platform, are not usually offered in combination withother access equipment, such as supported scaffolding and hoists, and ultimately couldcompromise safety. In addition, working with a company that provides a suspendedaccess system, without the necessary experience, engineering, training and support tosafely and optimally utilize the equipment, could be equally disastrous.SolutionUnderstanding what types of suspended products are available and the differencesbetween them is key to selecting the optimum solution for a specific application.Experience has shown that multi-point access systems with rigid platforms areconsistently outperforming other solutions. In addition, choosing to work with acomprehensive access solutions company, which has the background, knowledge,labor, management, equipment and skills to efficiently and safely take projects fromstart to finish, is also essential to the successful use of any suspended access products.Safely and optimally utilize the equipment, could be equally disastrous.Suspended Access Systems Whitepaper | Featured product: QuikDeck® | Words: 3267; Pages: 14Working with Suspended Access Systems
  2. 2. Suspended AccessOverviewMany structures in thecommercial and industrialmarkets consist of uniqueshapes requiring specialtyaccess solutions. Suspendedscaffolding is a great asset fordifficult-to-reach locations andelevations; however severalfactors need to be consideredbefore pursuing this route.There are numerous productsto choose from; not all aresuitable for every application.Suspended scaffold solutionscan also be dangerous whennot used correctly without theproper safety equipment andtraining.According to the OccupationalSafety and HealthAdministration (OSHA), eighttypes of suspended accessare available: Two-Point(swing stage), Single-PointAdjustable, Catenary, Multi-Point Adjustable, InteriorHung, Needle Beam, Multi-Level, and Float (ship). Eachof these access solutions hasits own OSHA regulations andguidelines, which must befollowed.Eight Types of Suspended ScaffoldTo review corresponding OSHA regulations, go to www.osha.gov and search through the website’s Construction eTools.Suspended Scaffold Type Product Description and UseTwo-Point (Swing Stage) Usually used by window washers, or for high-rise construction, this is the most commonsuspended scaffolding. A platform is suspended by ropes or cables connected tostirrups at each end of the platform.Single-Point Adjustable Window washers and single-worker projects utilize this type of scaffold. This smallerplatform is suspended by using only one rope or cable.Catenary Bridges and offshore rigs are frequent users of this type of scaffold. Catenary scaffoldconsists of a platform supported by two horizontal and parallel ropes attached tostructural members of a building or structure.Multi-Point Adjustable Chimney hoists, bridges, construction, and other specialty projects use this type ofscaffolding. A platform is supported by multiple suspension points from an overheadconnection. (See diagram below showing multi-point suspended access solution withrigid platform.)Interior Hung Used for internal work on structures, this interior-hung scaffold consists of a platformthat is suspended from a roof or ceiling by fixed-length supports.Needle Beam Steel structures and riveting gangs are two big users of this type of scaffold. Needlebeam suspended scaffold consists of a platform that is suspended from needle beamsand usually attached on one end to a permanent structural member.Multi-Level Often used by window washers and construction sites, the multi-level suspendedscaffolding consists of either two-point or multi-point adjustable suspended scaffoldingwith a series of platforms placed at various levels resting on common stirrups.Float (ship) A float, or ship, scaffold is a suspended scaffold used for many types of industries. Thissuspended scaffold consists of a braced platform resting on two parallel bearers andhung from overhead by ropes of fixed length.Building suspended scaffolding has the potential to be time-consuming and possibly dangerous, if not donecorrectly. When reviewing product information, both ease of erection and dismantling should also be taken into2
  3. 3. Building suspended scaffolding hasthe potential to be time-consumingand possibly dangerous, if notdone correctly. When reviewingproduct information, both ease oferection and dismantling shouldalso be taken into consideration.In addition, you will want tocompare suspended accessproducts with flexible deckingversus rigid platforms. Inexpensivesuspended access solutionsproviders often utilize low-costflexible platforms to reduce price.These platforms are typicallymade of galvanized roof deckor chain link materials. Flexibleplatforms provide a surface thatcan be difficult to work on andhard to maneuver equipmentacross. In addition they can betime-consuming to erect, donot facilitate use in multipleapplications and are not usuallyoffered in combination with otheraccess solutions products, such assupported scaffolding and/or hoists.The cost to build ground-supportedscaffold gets more expensive asworking elevations increase becausesupported scaffolding is three-dimensional (length, height andwidth) while suspended scaffolding istwo-dimensional (length and width).This means that ground supportedscaffolds require more material to reachgreater elevations, while suspendedscaffolds utilize the same amount ofequipment, regardless of elevation.When projects require work to be doneat a specified location, high off theground, suspended scaffold providesan efficient, cost-saving solution.Multi-Point SuspendedAccess Systems withRigid PlatformsMulti-point suspended access scaffoldwith rigid platforms provides a stablework surface and has been used toaddress multiple access challengeswith a high degree of efficiency. Thesemodular platforms are designed foreasy installation to save on labor, canbe “built in the air” to save time and“leapfrogged” to reduce equipmentcosts. Leap-frogging is the process ofremoving material from one end tobe used at the other. Leap-frogginguses less material and can increaseproject profitability. In addition,by using a cantilevered systemwith rigid platforms, erectors canassemble a product more safely.When engineered, multi-pointsuspended access systems can bedesigned to withstand high loads ata 4:1 ratio, span over large areas,fit unique shapes and be combinedwith other access solutions, suchas supported scaffolding. Rigidplatforms provide safe barriersbetween the area where work isperformed and anything below.Properly trained, laborers can safelyfunction at high elevations, allowingmultiple trades to operate side-by-side with a high degree of efficiency,uninhibited by any restriction ofwhat may be below the platform.This valuable access solution canbe configured to meet the needsof many applications in both thecommercial and industrial industries.3
  4. 4. Commercial ApplicationsBridgesMany bridges within the United States are nearingretirement age with almost one-third of the 600,000bridges already exceeding their expected lifespan of 50years. Maintenance is in high demand, while fundingis low. Bridge maintenance usually requires work tobe done underneath the bridge – which is over water,other roads, railroads or other non-ground accessibleareas. Occasionally, though, work needs to beperformed above traffic (on archway bridges) withoutdisrupting traffic flow. Due to the nature of the locationswhere the work is to be performed, the potential forhigh costs and large project timelines is significant.Suspended access solutions are the preferred systemused to perform maintenance and repair on thesedifficult-to-reach areas on bridges. One frequentlyused suspended access solution on bridge projects hasbeen catenary systems. Catenary suspended scaffoldsare commonly built by attaching cables horizontally tobridge anchors, and vertically from under the deck ofthe bridge. Once the cables have been placed, platformsthat are built out of galvanized roof deck or chain linkmaterials are laid across the working surface area.The platforms of these catenary systems are flexible,creating a work surface that constantly bows whenstepped upon. Without rigid surfaces to walk on, workis slowed because labor and materials cannot easilymove across the surface of the system.Multi-point suspended access systems with rigidplatforms have been consistently out-performingcatenary systems on bridge projects. Advantagesinclude easier and safer installation and dismantle, aswell as a reliable, level work surface. In addition, thesesystems can be engineered to closely fit the curves ofvirtually any bridge design.I-430 Bridge ProjectTwo side-by-side bridges connect Little Rock with North Little Rock across the Arkansas River. Sections ofconcrete piping each 40 feet long and weighing almost 7,000 pounds, needed to be installed under thebridge to serve as water lines. In the past, to complete such an enormous task, contractors would usecranes and barges. This meant that the pipe was hoisted by crane from a barge, installed by work crews,and then finally inspected, one section at a time.When presented with this challenge, Safway Services, the access company for the project, engineered amulti-point suspended access solution with a rigid platform to provide a flat “factory floor” surface thatenabled workers to hoist and install the pipeline, while inspectors followed closely behind. The pipelineno longer needed to be added section by section with a crane and barge. Using a suspended accesssolution with a rigid platform sped up productivity by more than 35 percent creating significant savings.4
  5. 5. Specialty Commercial Structures:Atriums, Domes, Aquatic Centers,Airports and MoreSpecialty commercial structures oftenrequire a customized approach. Usuallyheavily trafficked, these facilities canprove to be costly to maintain and repair– especially when the structure’s mainuse is interrupted in the process. If themaintenance work or repair requiressupported scaffolding to be erected to reachhigh elevations within a structure, erectionand disassembly of the scaffold can proveto be disruptive to regular activities at thelocation. Multi-point suspended scaffoldingwith rigid platforms can offer a safe andeffective means of providing work surfacesfor repairs well above any regular activities,without the interruption of a structure’s use.Catenary suspended scaffolds cannotbe easily adjusted or configured to fitcommercial structures other than bridgesdue in large part to the installationtechniques. Installing catenary scaffoldingon commercial projects would be nextto impossible without tying into thestructure horizontally. In addition, theflexible platforms, such as chain-linkmaterial, would not be an effective barrierto keep pedestrians and others belowthe work surface safe. They also do notlend themselves to material movement orsupport the use of traditional scaffold on topof the deck.Madison Square Garden RenovationMadison Square Garden, which takes up most of two city blocks in the heart of Manhattan in New YorkCity, is host to numerous top-name events. Due for extensive renovations and upgrades, this uniquestructure required a customized approach to access. While some areas were able to tolerate a supportedscaffold structure, often crews needed to work at elevated levels within the structure, while not disturbingthe flow of business on lower levels. In addition, the floor of the arena had to be protected. The accesscompany for the job engineered a combination of supported and suspended scaffolds together withseveral unique custom solutions to enable all work to be performed with a high degree of efficiency.A key challenge on the project was creating access on top of Penn Station, which is situated underneathMadison Square Garden and serves as a major New York City transportation hub. Workers needed toaccess areas of the arena above, while not disrupting the busy Amtrak station below. A suspended accesssystem provided the perfect solution. A 15,000-square-foot platform was put in place and in use for overa year. Due to this innovative use of a suspended access system, the Amtrak station was able to operatesafely without any interruptions, while construction and renovation work was performed above.5
  6. 6. Zinc Roaster Dome Access ChallengeWhen Nyrstar, a leading global multi-metals company, neededaccess to a 43-foot-wide by 71-foot-tall zinc smelting roaster dome,in Clarksville, Tenn., their primary concern was worker safety. Tomake the necessary renovations on the roaster dome, which wasexpected to add another 30 years to the lifespan of the roaster,the refractory brick that lines the dome – brick that is capable ofwithstanding high temperatures – had to be replaced. After 33 yearsof enduring temperatures as high as 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit,Nyrstar safety officials didn’t want workers directly under the65-pound bricks during renovation, for fear they could collapse.Knowing this at the start of the project, the access company for theproject used a modular platform access system. This allowed allwork to be performed from above instead of below the dome. Theaccess solution involved cutting a holeinto the top of the structure, and thenlowering a small, circular starter platform.From this platform, the bricks aroundthe leading edge were removed. As thebricks were cleared away, making thespace larger, the platform was expandedto provide additional access. In total, theplatform grew to 40 feet in diameter.University of VirginiaAquatic CenterBuilt over 15 years ago, the University of VirginiaAquatic Center is home to an Olympic-sized pool– approximately 50 meters by 25 yards. Accessto the entire ceiling was required when the airhandling system needed repairs. Safway Services,the access company hired by the contractor,installed a work platform utilizing 22,000 squarefeet of QuikDeck®, a suspended access system,and 8,000 square feet of Systems™ Scaffold. Thisallowed multiple tradespeople to operate side-by-side and access the ceiling, without needing todrain the pool, which would have been necessaryfor a traditional scaffold structure.6
  7. 7. Industrial ApplicationsPower Generation FacilitiesPower generation facilities – coal dustcombustion boilers, nuclear power plants,hydroelectric dams and thermal stations –include an array of unique structures thatdemand regular maintenance, repair andupdating. These projects, which can rangefrom a concentrated job in a targeted area toa full shutdown and turnaround, are usuallyperformed under strict deadlines, with tightbudgets and require a workforce that hasindustry-specific knowledge and experience.In addition, the Department of Energy (DOE),the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),OSHA, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),all oversee policy and regulation for powergeneration facilities and have guidelines thatmust be followed.Coal dust combustion boilers are primeexamples. These boilers contain numerous largetubes that carry thousands of pounds of water,that when heated turns into steam. Over timethe tubes erode and need repair, and the shapeof these boiler structures and spaces oftenrequire unique access solutions. Many timessupported scaffolding is built up inside theboiler. Increasingly, however, suspended accesssolutions have been safely used to reducedowntime and cost. This is especially true whenwork only needs to be performed at the upperlevels of the boiler.Boiler Access Solution Cuts Budget by HalfTwo side-by-side bridges connect Little Rock with North Little Rock across the Arkansas River.Sections of By utilizing a suspended access solution inside the boiler of a 650-megawatt unitin the Ohio Valley, significant time and money were saved. By creating a platform inside theboiler 180 feet in the air, which was suspended from chains and supported by existing steelbeams, instead of using a supported scaffold solution, the total budget for the job was cut inhalf and the overall timetable was reduced.7
  8. 8. Off Shore Rigs and ShipsStringent safety guidelines in the maritimeindustry make the need for regular maintenancea given. OSHA, the US Coast Guard, the Bureauof Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the EPA,and International Safety Management (ISM),are just some of the governing bodies thatdesignate codes and regulations that offshorerigs and ships need to take into consideration.Often maintenance on these rigs and shipsrequire that workers perform repairs beneaththe level of the deck on the outside of thesestructures under tight deadlines. In theseinstances, suspended access systems haveproven to be an ideal solution.Offshore Rig Access Saves Critical TimeA contractor based out of Canada needed an access solution that would allow workers toperform maintenance and repair on an offshore oil rig. Using multiple products, including asuspended access system, along with more traditional scaffold and high-capacity personnelhoists, a solution was engineered that reduced the installation time by half. A barge was usedto float a starter platform out to the offshore rig. Once the starter platform was in place, rigwinches were used to lift the platform into the air. Once there, workers were able to build therest of the suspended platform in the air.8
  9. 9. Petroleum FacilitiesThe oil refining industry continues to face tough challenges.Many refineries are forced to run at high volumes with aslittle downtime as possible. Maintenance is sometimesdelayed to meet increased demand. Due to thesecircumstances, it is critical that any maintenance or repairwork – especially if a shutdown or turnaround is required– be executed in a highly efficient manner. With the useof suspended access solutions, some petroleum refinerycompanies have saved time and rental or purchasingfees, ultimately reducing costly shut-down time.Saving Time and Money on Primary Separation Vessel MaintenancePrimary separation vessels are large funnel-shaped vessels about 100 feet in diameter that extractoil from sand. A primary separation vessel produces approximately 90,000 barrels of oil, so whenscheduled maintenance makes a shutdown necessary, oil company managers need highly efficientsolutions.During a recent shutdown at a refinery in Alberta, Canada, a suspended access system proved tobe an ideal solution. The product’s unique ability to be engineered to fit any shape allowed thesuspended scaffold to efficiently fit inside the round vessel. The customer’s turnaround time for themaintenance project was lowered from 16 days to five, saving the customer no less than $96 million.9
  10. 10. Finding the Right Access PartnerAccess and scaffold providers that not only supplya complete line of complimentary productsbut also have broad experience, as well as theknowledge and skills unique to an industry, areessential to maximizing the efficient use of anysuspended access system. Every project withinthe industrial and commercial markets is unique.Using an access provider that can offer customsolutions, take a project from the planning stagesthrough execution, management and wrap-up,and at the same time provide comprehensivesafety and training, is often the key differencein increasing productivity and profit margins.When considering a suspended access solution,you also will want to look at the provider tosee what kinds of support service they offerand how they perform in the following areas:SafetySafety is one of the most importantconsiderations when doing work that requiresrigging and suspension. According to OSHA,fall protection has received the highestamount of citations in the industrial andcommercial markets (OSHA 1926.501).In fact, as you can see in the chart below, fallprotection citations have been listed as one ofthe top three cited violations for the past threeyears. In 2011, 6,274 inspections were performedby OSHA, and 7,275 citations were given. Often asingle job site was issued more than one citation.In light of numbers like this, it is importantto think about how new construction andmaintenance can be performed with multi-point suspended scaffolds as safely aspossible. With tight budgets already in place,no company can afford to pay the fines forhaving unsafe practices or work environments.To reduce the chances of being fined, safetymust be emphasized and training must besought. It is imperative that key decision-makers in the construction industry look attheir access company’s track record in safety,as well as the guidelines they have in placeto support safe practices and job sites.TrainingTraining is invaluable to increase efficiencyand ensure safety. Providing product trainingallows equipment users to perform their jobsquickly, safely and with the best possible results.Be sure to ask any potential access companyabout the various training options available toaccommodate your specific project needs.EngineeringIn many instances, when working withsuspended access products, engineering anddesign are critical to saving time and money,while increasing safety and overall efficiency.Before you partner with an access companyon any project, consider the size and depthof their engineering support. Seek an accesssolutions partner that has a solid staff oflicensed civil, structural and mechanicalengineers, as well as state-of-the-art Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and structural analysissoftware for optimum performance. Then besure to allow sufficient time to plan ahead.Rental, Sales and InventoryNeeds vary from company to company andproject to project. Some require only occasionalaccess, while others may need it on a regularbasis. Turnkey solution providers that seek toaccommodate individual organizational needsprovide a multitude of products for rent and/or purchase. In addition, consider productavailability through branch locations andregional distribution centers with the capabilityto efficiently schedule delivery of equipmentwith minimal transportation costs and time.Project Tracking Systems and AccountabilityBy providing comprehensive data aboutyour project from start to finish, an accesssolution provider can offer real-timeinformation about equipment, inspections,labor and productivity for increased costtransparency. Good project tracking systemsallow managers to monitor and capture dataabout every aspect of any job. This includes:• On-site scaffold productivity• Types of scaffold utilized• How the scaffold is being used• Inspections• Cubic foot rate• Dismantling status• Total labor hours/employees’ daily time• Historical data for future referenceHaving access to this data increases efficiency,eliminates non-productive time, decreases theneed for modifications and inventory, and helpsminimize your project costs. Modifications andinventory, and helps minimize your project costs.10
  11. 11. Choosing the Best SuspendedAccess System for Your ProjectPerforming on tight budgets has forcedmany companies to search for accessand scaffold providers that produce safe,effective, creative and low-cost solutions.Through the innovative use of suspendedaccess systems, numerous companieshave been saving significant time andmoney on projects, while also enhancingsafety. Key factors to be considered inusing suspended scaffolds are productcompatibility, training, ease of installationand dismantling, safety and pricing. Inaddition, to get the most out of anysuspended access system, you will wantto work with a scaffolding company thatis able to provide innovative, turnkeysolutions to resolve project challengesalong with a full line of complementaryproducts, a strong record in safety,excellent training, engineering support,project-tracking and accountability.Multi-point suspended scaffolding accesssolutions with rigid platforms providedby turnkey access solutions providerssafeguard personnel and the public, as wellas a company’s profit margin.Jerry Dolly is the manager of the Bridge Division at Safway Services, which provides QuikDeck®,a suspended access solution, for use in commercial and industrial applications. Founded in 1936,Safway Services is headquartered in Waukesha, Wis. Through its network of approximately 85branch locations in the U.S. and Canada and a system of distributors across South America,Safway provides scaffolding and access solutions for commercial construction, industrial andinfrastructure applications. As an industry leader, Safway provides sales, rental, labor services,training, engineering, design, safety and project management. With an extensive inventory anda full line of access products, Safway experts design and implement safe, economical accesssolutions for projects of any size and scope. For additional information, visit www.safway.com.11
  12. 12. • QuikDeck® is multi-point suspended scaffold with a solidwork platform, enabling employees to work effectivelywithout being hindered by a flexible work platform.• When purchased, the QuikDeck® suspended accesssystem provides better long-term ROI. QuikDeck® iscomposed of galvanized metal making its componentslifespan five times longer than its competitors.• Engineering design and assistance isreadily available at a lower cost.• QuikDeck® can also be combined with other scaffolding accesssolutions. This provides the opportunity to approach difficultaccess situations with dynamic and creative solutions.• QuikDeck® is designed to meet OSHA required weightbearing ratios of 4:1 and can be configured to up to 150pounds per cubic foot for uniform live load ratings.• QuikDeck’s® unique design allows it to be assembled from a few basiccomponents and can be configured to fit almost any shape or size.• Safway’s QuikDeck® suspended access division also has a diversifiedworkforce with an in-depth knowledge of the product line, all safetyregulations that apply to suspended scaffolding, and extensiveknowledge of different market segment scaffold access needs.• Safway also provides international access to products through90 plus branches, allowing Safway to provide quality labor,products and services at any time and from anywhere.• Safway’s QuikDeck® suspended access system saves valuable dollarsthrough an innovative, patented, cantilevered erection techniqueallowing the suspended access system to be built in the air.• QuikDeck’s® unique erection and dismantling also allow theproduct to be “leap-frogged” to allow crews to completejobs in sections and reduce equipment costs.• With 5,000 square feet of QuikDeck® platform perflatbed truck, shipping costs are greatly reduced.QuikDeck® SuspendedAccess System12