WorkCover NSW has released a new publication - ‘Masonry Wall Safety during Construction Work’ - to assist builders and bricklayers improve the safety of masonry walls during construction.
John Watson, General Manager of WorkCover’s Occupational Health and Safety Division, said the guide was developed by WorkCover NSW in partnership with the bricklaying industry, CFMEU, Housing Industry Association and Master Builders Association, to improve safety across the construction sector: “The guide has been produced in collaboration with bricklaying and industry experts following a series of incidents where workers have been killed or injured by masonry wall collapses.
“In 2008, three bricklayers on a Botany construction site narrowly escaped serious injury when a wind gust caused the wall they were building to collapse, forcing them to jump 1.8 m from scaffolding. A bricklayer was tragically killed after a 2.7 m high wall collapsed on a building site at Wyong in 2007.
“The guide provides step-by-step advice on how to improve the safety of masonry walls during construction work through adequate planning, risk management and use of temporary supports.
“The 15-page, pocket-size guide includes diagrams, tables and charts detailing the effects of various wind speeds on unsupported masonry walls, and the types of braces and temporary supports that can be used to manage the risk of walls collapsing during construction.
“During construction work, masonry walls, either brick or block, can fail due to side loads on the walls, the construction sequence, inadequate foundations or adjacent excavations. Side loads, such as wind or materials leant against a wall under construction, can inadvertently cause a wall to collapse.
“This guide emphasises the need to check the stability of brick or block walls during their construction and to support walls against the effects of wind and other side loads.”
The guide is a joint initiative by workplace safety authorities in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania and is available from www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.