Tilt-up, as a method of construction, encourages crews to take advantage of the benefits of speed and economy inherent in the site-cast tilt-up process. However, for this to be maximized and effective, safety programs and guidelines must be planned and enforced. A comprehensive safety program goes well beyond what to do and not do in the field; it must begin with the preparation in the office before any field implementation is started. The new TCA guidelines provide a recommended safety program that should be followed by all tilt-up erection contractors. The program includes checks and guidelines for prelift, during lift and after lift.
“The key for a safety program in a tilt-up firm is a site-specific safety plan,” Gebel states. “A site-specific safety plan for each project should include the sequence of tilt-up activity. What panels are you setting first? Which will be difficult picks? The safety plan should cover crane selection and placement. These are some of the highlights we made to the new guideline document.”
Erection and Rigging Training Program
The new TCA safety guideline provides the base for another new development, the TCA’s Erection and Rigging Training Program, which has also been produced by the TCA Safety Committee. The program, which will be offered for the first time at the TCA Annual Convention in Houston, Texas, this fall, presents issues specific to the rigging and lifting of tilt-up panels.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires crane operations to involve qualified persons for rigging and signaling the certified crane operator. In an effort to further the industry preparedness and assuredness of this requirement, the TCA Safety Committee established itself as a third party Qualified Evaluator for participants in the program.
During the program delivery, demonstrations of the most common rigging equipment and connections are made. Safe and unsafe conditions are addressed as well as inspection points for the required equipment. Additionally, attendees to the program are given the signals essential to the lift operation and unified to the responsibility for hand signal communication as well as the proper positions for maintaining line of site. Attendees will also learn the essential activities and restrictions for all persons on the site during a lift, ensuring that no worker is out of position or located in an unsafe or unprotected situation.
“The TCA safety guideline provides the background and documented support for continued commitment to safety on tilt-up sites,” Baty states. “However, in order to more fully prepare industry participants to meet OSHA’s regulations and more importantly, protect their workforce, it was essential for this committee to set in motion this training program and be able to communicate the necessity of a plan to both our members and the industry at large.”
During the program, attendees will also be equipped to develop a quality tilt-up safety plan. This plan has several essential components including:
- Assessment of site conditions and planning
- Review of panel and building design against existing preparation
- Description of the special procedures required for hazardous non-routine tasks
- Bracing manual should be obtained
- Description of panel casting and erection activities and procedures
- Direction to obtain the erection subcontractor and crew experience
- Direct training essential for all members of the crew
- Review of crane capacity and mobility
- Agenda and schedule for safety meetings
- Schedule for inspections of rigging equipment and crane
- Review of fall protection and hazard training
- Plan for lifting and maneuvering panels and crane positioning
- Schedule for inspections of bracing equipment and removal timing
Staying safe: A certified tilt-up company
Following a quality safety program is an essential part of a tilt-up panel erection. It is also a requirement for the TCA’s new Certified Tilt-Up Company program. Produced through years of expertise in tilt-up construction, this collaborative effort has established a new level of quality assurance to the market for the tilt-up contractor.
The goal of the TCA Company Certification Program is to provide owners, specifiers and designers with a method for assuring the experience, quality and performance of tilt-up concrete contractors. The program will certify that companies who manage the tilt-up construction process have met the criteria established for evaluation. The criteria includes analysis of company policies, procedures, and ability to consistently deliver a quality product and that they hire trained, certified, and qualified personnel in all aspects of the tilt-up construction process. The emphasis of the program is on quality control and quality assurance, but safety, experience, current activity, adherence to specifications, and owner verification of performance are part of the evaluation criteria. An on-site review of company documents is performed to confirm and verify the information presented. Companies experience, performance and adherence to the programs requirements are reviewed annually.