Ask the ‘On Begley Street’ team: High efficiency safe working platforms

Posted January 23rd, 2013 | 2 Comments

Photo: Green Stock Photos

From the On Begley Street mailbox:

Q:I am very impressed with the building of an environmental home and like what you are doing. However, the photos I have seen of the frame going up show shockingly dangerous examples of working at height. California was the place where high-efficiency safe working platforms were invented, so to see the poor use of ladders with men sitting on beams is so sad, not to mention inefficient. Environmentally effiicent aerial work platforms (cherry pickers) are readily available and would cut the risk of a fall while speeding up the build &#8212 possibly saving a few days of construction and setting a good example for other contractors. &#8212 Leigh

A:Hi Leigh,
Thank you for your interest! Input is always welcomed. While the reality is that we were no higher than being on a ladder replacing a bulb on a single-story ceiling, the camera angles can give the feeling of soaring heights. We actually were not that high off the ground. We do use various types of lift equipment &#8212 in this case, a crane did 98% of the work and the men only go on the ladder with safety harness for a few minutes to tighten the bolts. With the use of this special mechanical equipment, we were able to complete all the steel and labor seen in the pictures in just under three hours.

Although we would have liked to use a mechanical-man lift too, due to the basement and grid of foundation walls it was not possible to drive it around. So we had to use the next-safest things, ladders and harnesses.

Once we get higher up, you will start to see the work platforms for the team &#8212 but at this point, we are just in the early stages of erection and we hope you follow our progress! We think it will be exciting (and safe)!

Scott Harris, Vice President
Building Construction Group


  1. Nicolaas Strik says:

    When will episodes be available?

  2. Ryan Lee says:

    Mr. Harris, a better response would have been an apology and a promise to work safely in the future. Clearly you should know that using an a-frame ladder in any way other than fully extended and locked is a willful violation (3 are pictured being used incorrectly here!), as is working over 6′ from the ground without fall protection and it is easy to see that the man on the left is not wearing an approved fall arrest system. Should I mention the 20′ extension ladder leaning on the column with its foot spikes folded up in the smooth floor configuration on loose rock? Also, there is plenty of room on both sides of your building footprint for a 60′ manlift to roll back and forth. While I’m at it, I might add that 2″ binder straps are not taglines and that the use of synthetic slings on I-beams is a good way to kill someone as well. There are no softeners on the slings pictured here and your two leg choke looks to be spread a little farther than 60 degrees, not good.

    I doubt that my $.02 will be posted here. Do things the right way and you won’t have to worry about stuffing your foot in your mouth with a ridiculous rebuttal to a comment like Leigh’s above. You are wrong, your jobsite as pictured is unsafe, and I see gross negligence and willful violations from the gate to the camera. It might be hard for you to admit, Mr VP, but you are wrong like the rest of us sometimes.

    Kudos to Leigh with her on-point observation and realistic comment.

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