Image source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-02/scaffolding-collapse-at-robina-shopping-centre/4929910
It appears that a scaffolding collapse which took place in a shopping complex on the Gold Coast has resulted in state-wide safety checks as authorities fear a the repeat of such an incident.
Incidents where the public are also placed at risk are particularly concerning because unlike construction workers, the public aren’t trained on construction safety and don’t know how to react in the face of a construction accident.
The accident in question took place last week at the Robina Shopping Complex and thankfully did not result in any injuries or fatalities.
Workplace Health and Safety authorities are looking into the incident and have also begun conducting safety checks on other construction sites across the state of Queensland.
An excerpt taken from SafetyCulture.com.au explains what happened:
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland are investigating, along with the construction company, why scaffolding that was a part of a new car park collapsed on Sunday.
All work has been stopped at the site until the investigation is complete, there was nobody injured on in the collapse.
David Hanna, the Builders Labourers Federation state secretary, said that scaffolding on projects in the state will be checked.
He said that this incident highlights the need for safe and correct erection and dismantling of scaffolding. The incident could have been a disaster if it had happened on a work day or if somebody walking or driving by had been injured.
Scaffolding that is overloaded or inadequately tied to a building is vulnerable to collapse. It is important that principal contractors, scaffolding contractors and employers assess the risks and develop, implement and maintain appropriate risk control measures in order to prevent an accident like this from occurring again.
Safety Regulation dictates that scaffolding be inspected by a competent person. It is important that principal contractors or those in control of the site ensure that this inspection takes place before the scaffolding is initially used and before it is used following any alterations or repairs.
Scaffolding should also be inspected after an incident that might reasonably be expected to affect the stability or adequacy of the scaffold or its supporting structure such as a heavy storm. Also inspection should take place regularly following that for example at intervals of a week (but not exceeding intervals of 30 days).
Another common error that is often made is overloading of scaffolding. Remember that the scaffolding cannot hold an indefinite weight, there is a limit to the weight it is capable of holding before it risks collapsing.
It is also vital that all on-site workers and subcontractors are provided with adequate information, instruction, training and supervision regarding the control measures required to prevent the collapse of the scaffolding.
Remember if an accident did occur often it is not only the workers on site at risk, the public in areas adjacent to the site may also be hit by falling elements or steel from the structure so ensure that all scaffolding is up to standard and inspected regularly.