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Occupied Facility Safety Planning

November 12, 2019

Prior to starting reroofing and building envelope restoration projects, a site-specific safety plan should be in place.

While the rooftop presents contractors with its own set of safety hazards to be addressed in this safety plan, the grounds around a building present hazards as well. And if the building is occupied—as is often the case in reroofing and building exterior restoration projects—one of the most important components of a site-specific safety plan is the “traffic control plan”. The building’s occupants and visitors entering and exiting the building along with the safety of the contractor’s personnel on the ground are the primary consideration when developing the “traffic control plan” portion of the site-specific safety plan. 

In windy weather conditions, pieces of insulation and other debris can be blown off the roof and fall to the ground. From multi-story buildings, the impact and distance traveled through the air can be magnified by the time objects reach the ground. And, if the falling object hits an unprotected pedestrian, serious injuries can occur. Therefore, where objects falling from the rooftop and coming in contact with a pedestrian is an obvious possibility, an excellent method of providing overhead protection is to erect scaffolding to serve as the frame of an exterior walkway with plywood covering the top and sides. This protected exterior corridor can be extended from building entrances and exits to sidewalks that are a safe distance from the work area.

Another important objective of the traffic control plan is to ensure safe operation of the contractor’s ground-based equipment. In addition to planning for forklifts and other motorized equipment that remains on site throughout the project, material delivery truck routes and material laydown locations around the building should be established. Barricades, warning lines and traffic cones are all effective in coordinating the safe movement of vehicles, equipment and materials around the building during work hours.

The key to the effectiveness of a traffic control plan within a site-specific safety plan requires that the building owner’s representatives and the contractor coordinate in advance on the development of this plan. And the key to maintaining the plan’s effectiveness throughout the project is to communicate any concerns that are raised during the course of the project so that they can be addressed and the safety of the building occupants and contractor’s personnel can be maintained.

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