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Using 2 x 12 dimensional boards as walkway to span 14'

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I have a job where I have a 14' span that I need to lay some kind of planking across to access a ceiling JB. Onsite there are some 16' dimensional 2 x 12's. They are long enough to work (3 side by side supported by scaffold on either side) but a carpenter friend told me to not use single boards for this, but using 2 boards for each run was fine. What are the osha standards for this?

When I installed the JB I used the rockers 16' 2 x 12 microlams. There are none for rent in my small town.
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Hackenschmidt
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Years ago I did many, many sketchy things where after I did them, I got onto terra firma and said "I am never, ever, ever going to do THAT again." What's acceptable safety wise has changed but even without factoring in OSHA, lawyers, etc. Luckily I lived long enough to get smarter about it. This is not something I'd pick a fight over if I saw someone doing it at a job site, but it definitely is one where I'd dial 9-1 and watch and wait. (Pro tip: Know your job's street address so when you make that call you know what to say to the dispatcher.)

But you were interested in OSHA's standards, not mine, and they are a bit stricter. Here's the OSHA rules for scaffold planking

eTool : Scaffolding - Planking | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

1926.451 - General requirements. | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)

Scaffold planks are a certain type and grade of lumber and have to be in very good condition and you are pretty far from the span for a single plank. There is no standard that I know of for doubled up planks, probably because doubling them up isn't a great idea. I don't think working overhead on a wobbly bouncy plank with no rail is going to be real safe even if it doesn't collapse.

You can get creative making / building something stiffer / safer but half the time site built contraptions make things less safe, not more. If you can't rent a suitable scaffold plank, can you buy rent or borrow scaffolding or a large A-frame ladder? I don't know how high you have to go, but a two-level baker's scaffold is not real expensive to buy or rent, even with prices very inflated right now.

Yes it's a lot of trouble / expense to get it to the job site, build it, and break it down for one box. If you didn't build that into your price, even for this one box, you might have to just take the loss and pay what you have to to work safely. You might try getting the general contractor to pay for it, tell them you don't include the price of scaffolding or etc., that's on him. You probably don't have that in your contract but it is worth a shot. He might have something at another job, or get you something suitable on his nickel, or split it with you, or just pass it through to the homeowner and see if they squawk.
 

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Use 2, stack one on top of the other.
Disagree.
2 stacked is less than twice as stiff because they can slip in shear.
Screw them together on the ends to prevent shear and they will be almost 8 times as stiff.
Prestress (curve) them before screwing them together on the ends and they will be MANY times stiffer.
Font Window Rim Automotive exterior Bumper

It is called camber.
 

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Retired EC and Fuel distribution contractor
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You don't get a 2nd chance on this. Don't cheap out and get hurt. Easy for me to say since I don't have to pay for it, and like Spatz I've done worse.

Any way you can turn those boards 90º and screw some plywood on top? (something on the bottom for stability)
 

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Live dangerously at the speed of light and repent (recover) leisurely. Long time back I was helping my dad paint the outside of a church. His longest extension ladder (wood in those days) was not long enough. Dads know everything, right? In his infinte wisdom he nailed 2 12 foot 2x4s to the bottom of the ladder and then used a 10 ft step ladder to climb up to the first rung. Now he's over 40 foot up and expecting me to set up similarly at the other end of the church. I did NOT do so even though I was raised to obey my parents. He finished the job without injury but I then decided on a safer career as an electrician. Above is not fabricated as I never took creative writing in school.
 

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Never use dimensional lumber for planking. All the scaffold people have planks made of something a lot stiffer than dimensional lumber.
I use Aluminum scaffolding planks. I can bend conduit on them,
14' is a long ways with a couple of hundred pounds moving across it. Get another set of scaffolding built so the span is 7'.

Or let me know so I can take out a million dollar insurance policy on you.

I to was young, dumb and full of it at one point in time.
Age and trechery will win over youthful exuberance, every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Funny thing about this thread bump is that I finally got this chandelier installed last night!

7 globes, 14' from ceiling to lowest globe.

Used two sets of 16' 2x12's doubled up. Supported on one level by a 24" drywaller's bench and the lower level by 2 ladders. Under each pair of 2x12s we screwed a 2x4 post that rested on the stair treads below, there was zero sag. I put a couple of screws in the ends of each stacked 2x12 pair and also screwed down a 2' x 4' scrap of 5/8" plywood (effectively joining the two separate planks) on top of my working area.

The platform was bomber and made my time out in space considerably less stressful. Although working above a 30' drop on a 2' wide walkway is never my preferred way to spend my time.

I may have left a grease/sweat spot on the sloped ceiling where I was using my head to stabilize myself while using my hands.

Wood Automotive design Table Interior design Flooring
Light Black Building Rectangle Interior design
Building Interior design Architecture Wood Wall
 

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I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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Up until last Memorial Day doing this was easy, I wouldn’t think twice about walking the plank or I-beam.
Then in a matter of moments I got Peripheral vertigo due to vestibular nerve (neuronitis) damage while I was at home. I couldn’t see strait, walk or even lay down with out spinning. I ended up in ER and inside a CT and MRI machine.
It hit so quickly and so hard that I will never go to heights without a harness. My boss told me I won’t have to operate a condor or flying carpet anymore.
 

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Destroy the evidence as soon as you can. If your insurance company or your workman's comp folks ever see this you could be in a lot of trouble. Where I live it is way cheaper to have private insurance and state workman's comp than to combine them into one.
 

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Chief Flunky
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Turn them vertical. Cut a couple pieces off and screw them in between every few feet to make boxes. Screw your 2x12s on top. You can drive on that with a vehicle if you space the cross supports close enough.
 

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Nice! Your setup looks good to me. I have worked off legit scaffolds that were far worse.

Around the first few months of my apprenticeship, I was working for a company doing mostly cookie cutter homes.
One custom house had a 2 storey vaulted entrance.
Being the biggest guy, I was chosen to hold the back two legs of a 12' ladder, with the front legs set on two 4 footers. The smallest guy scurried up the tower and quickly hung it while two others supported its weight with a 2x4 cantilevered over the railing.
 
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