Earlier this week, members of the Scaffolding & Access Industry Association (SAIA) conducted their 41st Convention and Exhibition in Nashville. From all I witnessed, the event was a strong success. Many installers told me that the scaffold business is starting to see some business activity.

Mason contractors often have a love hate relationship with scaffolds. Work platforms, planks, and frames often the footing and paths of success, productivity, and safety,  But then comes those jobs, it often seems the one making money is the scaffold rental firm.

The 18 months will bring some economic trepition to mason contractors. Many contractors are using access equipment they have owned for almost a decade. True work activity has been what is once was. But fatigue, wear & tear may be turning your book assets into worksite liabilities.

Along with increasing work activities comes another concern. OSHA is about to make a stronger enforcement effort. At an SAIA educational session, an enforcement officer provided a not too hostile audience an update of the promulgation of new regulations. Many of these rulings are directed to preventing injuries from falls.

Kevin O’Shea, chair of SAIA’s Work Platform Committee offered the audience some advice.  Now is the time to inspect idle equipment. As many of units start to emerge from the weedy portions of storage yards, O’Shea is concerned that contractors may discover surprises. “It’s important to have trained inspectors examine these older units before they get to the job site,” said O’Shea.

But there was more enjoyable portion of the event. Clint Bridges, EZ Scaffold, Francois Villeneuve, Fraco, and Kevin O’Shea, HydroMobile profiled notable and special projects that benefitted from work platforms . Bridges highlighted two masonry projects – Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas; and City Center in Salt lake City. Villeneuve gave an interesting presentation abouit the work at the Chernobyl Sarcophage erection. And O’Shea talked about the repair work on the Church of Our Lady Immaculate Conception, Guelph, Ontario.

But perhaps the best advice I can share with you is a new website that you’ll find helpful. About a year ago, Stephen Pike launched an information site on scaffold. www.ScaffoldNation .com provides insights on the common questions often asked in the field. This could be on your must monitor sites on the internet.

SAIA did a great job in trying to reach out to everyone in our industry. I think many of the presentations were recorded and will be available to you soon on the SAIA website.Another good resource to go to.