Understanding Wall Bracing Safety
Jobsite accidents like collapsed walls are every construction manager’s worst nightmare. Even if the accident occurs during off-hours when no employees are present, a collapsed wall can easily lead to major headaches, including construction delays and higher insurance premiums. Only a strict adherence to OSHA regulations and industry standards regarding wall bracing safety can prevent this type of accident from happening in almost any circumstance.
Understanding the OSHA Regulations and Industry Standards
The OSHA regulations are uncharacteristically minimalist regarding wall bracing safety. The main code requirement is that all masonry walls taller than eight feet must be adequately braced until the permanent supporting structures are installed. Because the official regulations can be subject to interpretation, the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) developed its own industry standards. This resulted in the widely accepted and used Standard Practice for Bracing Masonry Walls under Construction guidelines. Mason contractors and project managers are strongly encouraged to follow the Standard Practice and consult its tables regarding the proper installation of bracing.
Establishing the Restricted Zone
One of the first steps for proper wall bracing is to establish the restricted zone based on the wall’s height. The restricted zone should be on the side of the masonry wall opposite the scaffolding, if scaffolding is up. Once the scaffolding is removed, the foreman must establish the restricted zone on both sides of the wall. For the sake of simplicity, mason contractors can tape off the restricted zone based on the height the wall will be once it’s completed. Otherwise, the boundaries must be re-established as the wall grows higher.
Designing the Wall Bracing
For maximum protection from damaging winds, a minimum of two braces must be installed for each wall panel. Note that the national Building Codes prohibit a space greater than 25 feet between control joints. Finally, there must be 20% of the wall between any given brace and the nearest control joint.
Scaffold Resource is a leader in construction site safety. We provide safe wall bracing, shoring erection, and scaffolding rentals at sites in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (301) 924-7223 and let us know how we can help you make your construction zone as safe as possible.