Over the last few months, there have been several scaffold compliance breaches across Programmed work sites resulting in Regulatory Notices, and one incident involving a fall from heights, (fortunately no substantial injuries occurred).
- A contractor falling from a fixed scaffold when they stepped on to a platform that moved from the structure. Prior to the incident, the work site was secured with temporary fencing and the contractors had inspected the scaffold elevation they were going to be working on. They then moved to another elevation that hadn’t been inspected, however unbeknownst to contractors, the scaffold had been interfered / tampered with by members of the public.
- A Prohibition Notice was issued by WorkSafe ACT for a fixed scaffold that didn’t comply with standards including–no scaff-tag / bottom stair more than 300mm from ground /missing brace / handrail greater than 3m span / bay height greater than 3 x base width and a missing handrail.
- An Improvement Notice was issued by WorkSafe ACT for a fixed scaffold that didn’t have temporary fencing erected around the site to prevent unauthorised entry.
Scaffold must be erected complying with standard AS/NZ 1576, remain safe, fit for purpose, not used for a purpose other than its design. Other requirements include:
- Safe and clear access and egress is provided to all working platforms (e.g., clear access to a ladder or stairs).
- Scaffolding is protected from impact by mobile plant and vehicle traffic.
- Scaffolding is isolated from unauthorised users and the public.
- Toe boards or kick boards and mesh are in place to prevent objects from falling.
- Damaged platforms and components are only removed or replaced by a licensed scaffolder.
Recommended Ways to Control Risk
- Scaffolding is erected by qualified and trained persons.
- Scaffolding complies with any design specifications and the relevant standard (AS/NZ 1576).
- Systems are in place to prevent unauthorised modifications or alterations to the scaffold (e.g., training and site induction).
- Scaffolding is inspected daily prior to use and inspected prior to moving from one elevation to another on the same day.
- Scaffolding is inspected every 30 days by a qualified person and after alterations or repairs, adverse weather, and more regularly in environments that are susceptible to unauthorised people accessing and possible tampering with scaffold.
- Scaffold inspection tags (scaff-tags) should be placed at each access point.
- A handover certificate is provided when erection is complete and following any alterations.
- Secure perimeter fencing is installed to isolate unauthorised users and persons accessing the scaffold.
- Workers are provided with any necessary information, instruction, and training for safe access, use and change to scaffold.
HSE Representative: Adam Shearer
Date of issue: 31 August 2022