Members of the Scaffold Industry Association Platform Council, Oversight Committee, various manufacturers, associations and labor union representatives participated in a California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Advisory Committee meeting on Scaffold Plank Design Requirements on September 2-3.

It was recommended by California’s Research and Standards Safety Unit that an advisory committee convene to evaluate draft text to update California OSHA standard 1637. The current standard does not clearly address laminated veneer lumber scaffold plank and proper labeling of solid sawn scaffold planks that have come into market over the past several years. Additionally, the existing standards are narrowly focused on Douglas fir scaffold plank grade material, whereas the industry is predominantly solid sawn Southern Yellow Pine and laminated veneer lumber scaffold plank.

Over the two-day meeting, the advisory committee came to a consensus on the draft with updated definitions as well as general design, labeling and construction requirements for engineered wood (i.e. laminated veneer lumber), fabricated and solid sawn scaffold planks. The pending changes will provide clarity for manufacturers and employers alike.

The proposal must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Administrative Law before the changes come in to effect. The entire process can take approximately one year, with implementation by December 2010.

As with many standards and regulations, California has the led the way with safer and stricter tolerances. Adopting this type of proposal not only at the state level but a national level would be of great benefit and safety to the scaffold industry.