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Date PostedMarch 21, 2013

Scaffolding Safety in Construction – WorkCover NSW issues Safety Alert

A safety alert has been issued to remind construction businesses about the need to inspect and maintain scaffolding and its components which include stair flights.  The fall of a worker from scaffolding raised the alarm about scaffolding safety which is sometimes not up to standard because of the many components it entails. The worker suffered serious back injuries and the incident resulted in WorkCover NSW to issue the alert. The worker injured his back from a fall when a scaffold stair flight dislodged from its supporting transoms as he stepped on the stair flight.Investigations into the incident found that the stair flight’s lower horizontal section had deteriorated over time. This was not noticed during the inspection of the scaffolding.

WorkCover NSW in their alert stress that the responsibility for scaffolding safety does not rest with one entity alone, the suppliers, scaffolders and scaffolding installers as well as contractors all carry responsibility in scaffolding safety and inspection of scaffolding structures and its components. Contractors who manage and use scaffolding systems must not work on an incomplete or damaged scaffolding system and that includes incomplete or damaged stair flights.

The safety website, SafetyCulture.com.au details the alert in an article, read an excerpt from the article below:

WorkCover-logo-250x313-2-150x150Scaffolding suppliers must inspect all stair flights for damage before they leave their premises and also upon their return. They also must undertake testing and inspections as per manufacturer’s instructions, taking into account their design life.

Scaffolders and scaffolding installers who hold a current high risk work licence to undertake scaffolding work must inspect all stair flights for damage and/or deterioration before installing, and provide written confirmation that the scaffolding is complete (including the stair flights) to the person  with management and control of the workplace after their installation. Inspection should also occur after stair flights are dismantled, and where damage and/or deterioration are identified, it should be reported to the company that owns the scaffolding.

Contractors who manage and use scaffolding systems must not work on an incomplete or damaged scaffolding system (including the stair flights). Prior to receiving written confirmation that the scaffold is complete or working on the scaffolding system, contractors must check that the system is complete. In particular, check for any visible signs of cracks, rust and/or damage.

Read more at: http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/safety-alert-on-inspection-and-maintenance-of-scaffolding-stair-flights/

According to WorkCover NSW, once the scaffolding system is complete and a written confirmation is accepted, the work health and safety obligations fall on the contractors managing and using scaffolding systems, which is what most contractors are unaware of.  For constructed scaffolding, written confirmation that the scaffold is complete is required prior to using the scaffold and at least every 30 days thereafter, after any alterations or additions to the scaffolding structure are made or following an incident involving the scaffolding.  Where an inspection indicates that the scaffold system creates a risk to the health and safety of workers then necessary repairs should be carried out before work resumes.


Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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