Shading Devices

Exterior Shading Devices are being installed on green building projects to prevent heat, from the suns rays, from entering the building.  Exterior shading devices allow daylight to enter a space while keeping direct sunlight and heat out, using nature to reduce cooling and lighting demands. Depending on their location, shading devices create an additional obstruction and/or obstacle for completing the construction and maintenance of a building.

Access – For most installations, shading devices will be installed and accessed via manlifts.  One important consideration to keep in mind is how various trades doing work around the shading devices will gain safe access. Installations should be designed to prevent difficult access scenarios, otherwise the question should be raised early on with the architect/owner.

Fall Protection – Typically the system will be installed using a manlift.  Despite the guard rail, shading devices can be heavy and awkward and thus employees should be required to tie off to the manlift.

Sequencing – If possible, shading devices should be installed near the end of the exterior construction but prior to painting and caulking. Take precautions to ensure other trades, such as the landscapers are not working below the shading device installation.

Material Handling

  • Overhead Protection - Will work be taking place beneath the shading device installation? If so, what steps have we taken to prevent materials or equipment from falling and striking workers below? Do workers beneath the installation know that there is overhead work taking place? Do workers involved with the skylight installation know there is work taking place below?  Can we isolate the area so no work will be performed below the installation?
  • Pinch point / Caught between - When rigging materials to be hoisted for the installation, it is important to be aware of the pinch points (i.e. between shading devices).

Environmental Factors – Strong winds are always a concern when working at heights.  Additionally, rain may cause shading devices to be slippery and proper protocol should be put into place to prevent workers from dropping parts and pieces of the system.


Presenter tips

  • Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.

Questions for Discussion

  • Where is it located?
  • Which trades may be in a new situation? How is it sequenced?
  • What equipment & materials are involved?
  • How is it installed?
  • How is it operated & maintained?