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Understanding and Addressing Cal/OSHA's Exterior Building Maintenance (EBM) Regulations

Diversified Education Team
May 1, 2023 12:39:46 PM

Exterior Building Maintenance (EBM) is an essential component of ensuring the safety and longevity of a building. EBM is governed by stringent regulations under the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA). This article delves into the intricacies of EBM as it relates to Cal/OSHA and highlights the importance of compliance for property stakeholders.

Cal/OSHA EBM Regulations

EBM encompasses a variety of tasks necessary for the upkeep and maintenance of a building's exterior, including window washing, facade repair, and other related activities. California heavily regulated EBM in the state due to the risks associated with working at heights and the potential hazards to workers, building occupants, and passersby.

Cal/OSHA imposes specific requirements for EBM, some of which are unique to California. These include:

  1. Suspended Maintenance Systems: For buildings taller than 48 feet, Cal/OSHA mandates the installation of suspended maintenance systems, such as Tybeck anchors for scaffold systems. These anchors, which have a working load of 5,000 pounds and no permanent deformation or bending, must be spaced 12 feet apart and are necessary for future work on the building.
  2. Window Cleaning Provisions: If a building has glass above 48 feet, the owner must demonstrate how the glass can be cleaned using roof-based equipment, as floor-based equipment is only suitable up to that height. Buildings exceeding 48 feet from grade must have plans reviewed by Cal/OSHA to ensure provisions for window washing from the roof are in place.
  3. Operating Procedure Outline Sheet (OPOS): Cal/OSHA requires the creation of an OPOS for most buildings, which illustrates the safe window cleaning and exterior maintenance procedures for a structure. The relevant work area must display OPOS at the entrance.
  4. Window-Cleaning System Certification: Cal/OSHA mandates annual window-washing system certification, which must be obtained from the property owner or prepared by a qualified professional if unavailable.

Challenges and Solutions

Navigating Cal/OSHA EBM requirements can be challenging for property stakeholders due to the complexity and specificity of the regulations. However, proactive measures can help ensure compliance and mitigate risks.

  1. Early Involvement: Engage system designers and experts early in the design and construction process to ensure that EBM requirements are incorporated from the beginning.
  2. Collaborate with Experts: Work with experienced professionals specializing in EBM compliance, such as consultants, surveyors, or scaffolding testing and inspection contractors.
  3. Regular Inspections: Conduct routine inspections and assessments of EBM systems to ensure continued compliance and address potential issues.
  4. Employee Training: Provide comprehensive training for employees and maintenance staff to ensure they are well-versed in Cal/OSHA EBM requirements and can effectively perform their duties while adhering to safety protocols.
  5. Documentation: Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of all EBM-related activities, certifications, and inspections to demonstrate ongoing compliance and facilitate any necessary interactions with Cal/OSHA officials.
  6. Communication: Foster open lines of communication between property stakeholders, maintenance staff, and external EBM experts to ensure everyone is informed about the latest regulations and best practices.
  7. Continuous Improvement: Stay informed about updates and changes to Cal/OSHA EBM requirements and implement necessary adjustments to building maintenance systems and practices.

Partnering with a Qualified EBM Provider

Selecting a qualified EBM provider ensures compliance with Cal/OSHA regulations. Consider the following when choosing a provider:

  1. Experience: Look for a provider with a proven track record of success in helping clients achieve EBM compliance in California.
  2. Comprehensive Services: Select a provider that offers a full suite of EBM services, including system design, installation, inspection, and maintenance.
  3. Knowledgeable Staff: Ensure that the provider's team members are well-versed in Cal/OSHA EBM requirements and have the necessary expertise to provide guidance and support.
  4. Customized Solutions: Choose a provider that can tailor EBM solutions to your building's unique needs and specifications.
  5. Ongoing Support: Opt for a provider that offers ongoing support and assistance in maintaining EBM compliance, including regular inspections, employee training, and consultation on regulatory updates.

Diversified Fall Protection Can Help

Avoiding delays, rework, and additional costs associated with suspended building maintenance is crucial for property stakeholders. In addition, being proactive in addressing Cal/OSHA requirements during the design and construction stages can save time and money in the long run.

At Diversified Fall Protection, we're here to help. Our expert team will review your plans, identify any potential issues related to window washing and EBM compliance, and offer tailored solutions to ensure your project meets Cal/OSHA standards. 

Reach out to Diversified Fall Protection today and let our experienced team guide you through the complexities of EBM requirements. We're committed to providing cost-effective solutions prioritizing safety, efficiency, and adherence to state regulations.

Contact us now to discuss your project's needs and take the first step toward a successful, compliant building that meets these stringent requirements.