March 21, 2011
Nation's Building News

The Official Online Newspaper of NAHB

Safety Tip of the Month: Erecting Balloon-Framed Walls
Erecting balloon-framed walls.

Workers need to follow specific safe work practices when they are handling balloon-framed walls, which are heavy and require a full team to erect them manually into position.

There are also times when these walls may be too heavy for manual lifting and alternative methods need to be used to reduce the risk of the walls falling onto the workers.

Balloon-framed walls run the entire height of the structure — from the sill plate to the top plate.

For the protection of workers, these practices should be followed:

  • Pre-plan the job and evaluate the hazard — including determining the weight of the wall(s).

  • Use a competent person to determine the best method — crane, forklift, wall jack or manual — to lift the balloon-framed wall.

  • Train all workers involved in the lifting operation on the procedures and methods to be used.

  • Have the competent person determine the adequate bracing for the wall.

  • Assess weather conditions — such as high wind — to determine whether lifting the wall is safe.

  • Establish a controlled access zone equal to the height of the wall plus four feet and running the entire length of the wall.

  • Do not allow untrained workers to enter the controlled access zone.

  • When using cranes, forklifts or wall jacks, follow the manufactures’ safety procedures.

  • When manually lifting, ensure that a sufficient number of workers are continually assisting while the wall is being raised to prevent it from falling back onto the workers and to prevent over-exertion.

Additionally, when erecting balloon-framed walls on the second story, there is also a fall hazard that must be addressed prior to erecting the wall.

The fall hazard can be addressed by implementing alternative work practices such as a warning line and safety monitor system.

For more information on erecting balloon-framed walls, visit OSHA’s website or visit

Boost Job Site Safety With Fall Protection Training Products

In an effort to increase job site safety and reduce the chance of job related accidents, NAHB has produced the “Fall Protection Video, English-Spanish” and “NAHB-OSHA Fall Protection Handbook, English-Spanish.” Both are available through

The 30-minute “Fall Protection Video, English-Spanish” can be used by builders to train workers to use safe work practices that eliminate fall hazards and comply with OSHA fall-protection standards.

The “NAHB-OSHA Fall Protection Handbook, English-Spanish” provides guidelines for creating a written fall-protection plan and identifying safe work practices that can prevent costly accidents and injuries. Written with clear text, photographs and illustrations, the book serves as a user-friendly resource for promoting safety on any job site.

To purchase the handbook and video online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

Help Make Job Site Safety a Priority With Video From NAHB BuilderBooks

The “Jobsite Safety Video,” available through NAHB BuilderBooks, is the first-ever job site safety video for home builders.

The video provides an overview of the key safety issues that residential builders and workers need to focus on to reduce accidents and injuries.

Based on the NAHB-OSHA Jobsite Safety Handbook, this DVD is intended to be used as part of an essential residential construction safety-training program and includes two 20-minute videos on one DVD.

To view or purchase this DVD online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

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