Safety alert for scaffolding

Friday, 27 June, 2008

WorkCover NSW has issued a reminder to the construction industry to follow adequate safety precautions when working with scaffolding.

The warning follows the death of two workers last Saturday, when they fell 26 storeys after the collapse of a suspended scaffold at a building site on Queensland's Gold Coast.

WorkCover CEO Jon Blackwell said the incident serves as a reminder to all employers and workers to ensure there are sufficient safe work methods in place.

“It is essential that adequate risk assessment and control measures should be taken to prevent the collapse of scaffolding,” he said.

“Anyone involved in rigging or using suspended scaffolds should ensure the scaffold is erected by appropriately licensed and competent operators.

“Scaffolding should also be inspected after installation to ensure that it is safe for use.”

Employers and those who work with scaffolding should ensure:

  • the counterweight provided is at least three times the maximum likely load on the support rope (Australian Standard AS 1576. 4 Scaffolding Part 4: Suspended Scaffolding);
  • the suspension rig is capable of supporting the scaffold at the given outboard, including adequate lateral stability (AS 1576. 4);
  • the counterweights are fixed to the suspension rig to prevent becoming dislodged;
  • the winch ropes and other components are inspected prior to installation;
  • the scaffold hoist contains a single rope protective device, or a second rope, to hold the scaffold in the event of a winch malfunction;
  • operators check the scaffold, including the suspension rig, before use each day to check for any obvious damage or missing counterweights.

For further information, refer to Australian Standards AS 1567.4: Scaffolding Part 4: Suspended scaffolding and AS 4576 Guidelines for scaffolding.

More information about workplace safety and a copy of the 'Safety Alert — suspended scaffolding' is available from the website


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