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Drywall Stilts – Are your employees still bringing these onto jobsites?

- April 12, 2013 by Thomas Jolliff, ARM, CEES, ALCM (View all posts by Thomas)

As part of ICW Group’s Risk Management Services, our consultants frequently visit customer jobsites to observe employees working in the field. A construction jobsite survey often can bring to light employee activities, or physical hazards, that our customers (the employer) were unaware of.

The use of drywall stilts is a perfect example.

In California, drywall stilts are prohibited by Cal-OSHA (Title 8, Construction Safety Orders, Section. 1637 (j)). Section 1637 discusses general requirements for scaffold, and subpart (j) refers to prohibited types of scaffold.

In states that follow Federal OSHA construction standards (Nevada, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina/South Carolina), drywall stilts are still allowed, but the debate about which is safer – stilts, rolling scaffold, or ladders – continues among safety professionals.

The employees we typically discover using stilts have come to California from another state to find construction work, and are simply unaware of the Golden State’s standard. As an employer, you need to ensure your foreman understand the California construction standard regarding stilts (and all scaffolding), and more importantly, ensure they enforce your jobsite safety policies and procedures.

Looking the other way on stilt use, or any safety hazard, is a moral issue. At the same time, it could impact your organization in many other ways, including resulting in a serious fall accident (impacting your loss experience), loss of productivity, and more than likely, prompting an OSHA visit and possible citation.