The findings from a recent scaffolding safety inspection blitz on NSW construction sites revealed that:
These figures highlight an alarming lack of compliance and awareness around the importance of scaffolding safety. But when scaffolding is suitably designed, erected, altered, used and maintained it provides an efficient alternative to ladders and other access equipment for working safely at height.
Staying safe on and around scaffolding requires us to know the risks; spot the hazards; and to commit to working safely and follow all necessary steps to keep people out of harm’s way. Here we explore some common scaffolding hazards; look at ways to minimise risk; and answer some of your frequently asked questions about working safely with scaffolding.
What are the hazards of using scaffolding?
Working at height always comes with a degree of risk.
Here are some of the hazards associated with working with scaffolding:
Working safely with scaffolding
There are many considerations for working safely on and around scaffolding.
Scaffolding Quick Q&A
How much weight can a scaffold tube hold?
Unfortunately there is no definitive answer to this question – it depends on a variety of factors like the brand of scaffolding, and the design of your structure. However, to adhere to Australian workplace safety standards, all scaffolding must be able to support its own weight, plus four times the maximum intended load (whether this load is applied or transmitted).
Do I need a licence or training to erect scaffolding?
A high-risk work licence is required for working with any equipment that presents a risk of a person or object falling more than four meters. If the maximum fall distance is four metres or less, a high-risk work licence is not required. A safe work method statement (SWMS) is required for any structure with a risk of falling 2m or greater.
How high can scaffolding safely be constructed?
For tower frame scaffolding, the maximum number of working platforms is determined by the manufacturer, and outlined in supporting safe use documentation. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer or talk to an equipment hire specialist.
More information on working safely with scaffolding (including your obligations as an employer and all of your training and licencing requirements) can be found on the Safe Work Australia website.
Talk to Coates Hire for all your scaffolding needs – or find your local branch.
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