Vertical Green Walls

Green Walls are gardens that grow vertically using a trellis, pocket system, grid structure, or integrated structure for the soil, plants and some irrigation. They are designed to restore the natural ecosystems that are often destroyed by buildings, to better absorb rainwater, and create aesthetically appealing vertical landscaping for people.

Potential Dangers to consider:

  • Tradespeople in a new situation– landscapers don’t typically use ladders, scaffolding, and lifts so be sure they have a solid site safety plan to implement their installation safely.
  • Regular Maintenance – Unless system was designed and constructed to enable easy, safe maintenance this can be dangerous when tie-offs are grown over and concealed by plants, or access is limited
  • Chemical exposure – check pesticide MSDS before spraying near workers

Access - How will workers get to the installation? Is there stair access? Will scaffolding, a lift, or a ladder be required?

Fall Protection - All employees working (6’) above the ground should be tied off unless additional safety features such as catch platforms have been installed.

Overhead Protection - Will work be taking place beneath the green wall installation? If so, what steps have been taken to prevent plants, dirt, materials, or equipment from falling and striking workers below? Do workers beneath the installation know that there is overhead work taking place (signage)?

Hoisting – How will the materials be delivered? Will a crane drop them off? If so, are there pinch point concerns we have to worry about when rigging the material to the crane? Who will be responsible for landing and removing the materials? Have they been properly trained to direct the crane operator?

Equipment Conveyance – How will landscaping materials be delivered to the point of installation? Can heavy lifting overhead be avoided?

Scheduling – The green wall structure should be installed after all other trades have completed their work to minimize complicating access to other trades.

Environmental Factors – Is the installation happening during the winter? If so how are you dealing with rain/slip hazards? Is there a chance there may be ice on the scaffolding? Additional environmental concerns include strong winds, lightening, and excessively hot days where heat exhaustion can impact workers.

Presenter Tips

  • Pre-read the Tool Box Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
  • Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Tool Box Talk relevant to your jobsite.
  • Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion. Funding and support for this project has been provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor & Industries.

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