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Scaffolding Collapse in Gosford NSW

On the 19th August, another Scaffolding structure has collapsed in Gosford New South Wales (NSW) that injured a woman and caused property damage to several vehicles. It was only luck preventing someone being more seriously hurt.

It is a timely reminder to all employers or persons conducting business or undertaking that they must, so far as is reasonably practicable, identify any task that an worker is required to undertake at a workplace that involves a fall hazard including on any plant or structure being constructed, demolished, inspected, tested, maintained or  repaired.

The applicable health and safety legislation definitions describe a scaffold as a means of a temporary structure specifically erected to support access or working platforms. Scaffolding work means the erection, alteration or dismantling of a scaffold, if the scaffold is such that a person or object could fall more than 4 metres from the scaffold.

Over the years in the safety industry and undertaking workplace inspections of various construction projects, there have been times where scaffolding has been inadequate with not meeting the applicable standards, such as AS/NZS 4576 - Guidelines for Scaffolds and AS 1576 (series): Scaffolding.

Some of the general observations include, but are not limited to:

  • Missing parts such as mid rails, toes board to prevent falling objects;
  • Inadequately secured to the structure or building;
  • Insufficient clearance distances between the building and scaffolding;
  • Scaffolding not checked after strong winds and scaffolding tag not signed off within the required timeframes;
  • Overloading the scaffolding structures with building material;
  • Scaffolding bases erected on or over previous excavations that were not inspected for their integrity;
  • Inadequate prevention measures to prevent falling objects; and
  • Insufficient emergency protocols in the event of an injury on the scaffold.

Various safety regulators have provided safety guidance information for the management of scaffolding that should be implemented.

https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/scaffolding
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/guide-scaffolds-scaffolding
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/scaffolds-and-scaffolding-work-general-guide
https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/guide-scaffold-inspection-and-maintenance

Let us ensure the objects and principles of the health and safety legislation are enshrined into your projects.

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