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A Guide To Basic Standards Of Scaffolding In Australia

Construction is a complex industry and one that comes with many potential risks. 

Hence, as is the case in all areas of this industry, standards need to be in place and key individuals need to hold the responsibility to ensure that the site operates in a safe manner.

The area of scaffolding is one that can create a high level of risk if it is not carried out according to all appropriate standards and levels of health and safety. 

To understand the matter a little more thoroughly, let’s address the following topics:

  • What Is Scaffolding Work?
  • Who Needs To Be Aware Of Scaffolding Standards And Responsibilities?
  • Who Has Duties Under Law For Scaffolding Standards And Safety?
  • How Can Risks Be Managed?

What Is Scaffolding Work?

A scaffold refers to a temporary structure which is erected to support working platforms. 

Scaffolds are designed and have the purpose of, providing a safe and stable work platform within the construction industry.

When we talk about scaffolding work we tend to be referring to the work of erecting, altering and dismantling a scaffold.

Who Needs To Be Aware Of Scaffolding Standards And Responsibilities?

Anyone who is involved in owning, hiring, handling, transporting, maintaining or using scaffolds needs to be aware of scaffolding standards and responsibilities. 

Who Has Duties Under Law For Scaffolding Standards And Safety?

The main duties for the safe use of scaffolding fall under the responsibility of several key people. Below we have outlined a number of these:

  • An Individual Conducting A Business

This individual has the primary duty to ensure all workers, as well as other people,  are not exposed to health and safety risks which come as a result of the undertaking of the business. 

This responsibility includes the provision and maintenance of safe scaffolding, as well as the alteration and dismantling of these structures. 

Safe use, storage and transportation of scaffolding is also included in this responsibility.

  • Designers, Manufacturers And Suppliers

When scaffolding falls under the realms of the above professionals there is a responsibility to ensure all scaffolding supplies are free of safety and health risks. 

This duty may include carrying out an analysis, testing and the provision of specific information.

  • People Instructed To Install Or Construct Scaffolding

Such individuals are responsible for ensuring that the work they carry out to install scaffolding is carried out in a safe manner without causing risk to other individuals.

  • Workers And Others

All workers have a responsibility to take care of their own health and safety and to co-operate with policies and procedures which are in place so that the health and safety of other people are not put at risk also.

How Can Risks Be Managed?

There are a number of ways that risks can be managed when dealing with scaffolding. These include, but certainly are not limited to, the following:

  • Identify What Could Cause Harm

In this step, the workplace needs to be carefully examined to identify areas where scaffolds are used and how they interact with existing structures, vehicles and people. 

Ground conditions should also be considered in areas where scaffolds are being used. 

In addition, this step includes checking all scaffolding at the installation stage and inspecting the scaffold when it is fully erected and before use.

  • Assess The Risk

A risk assessment may need to be carried out to identify the likelihood that a person may be harmed. 

Such a risk assessment can play a key role in determining actions which may need to be taken.

  • Take Action

According to work health and safety laws, businesses need to undertake all that is reasonable to minimise or eliminate risks. 

At times this will mean substituting something which is classified as being a hazard for something which is deemed as a safer alternative. 

Such procedures may also include isolating the hazard from people, perhaps with the use of barriers. 

Engineering controls are also an option to minimise the risk of objects falling and striking work people or individuals who may be passing by.

Administrative controls are another way in which action may be taken. 

For instance, scaffolding can be stored close to the workplace so that loads do not need to be manually moved large distances. 

The use of protective clothing and equipment for all workers, such as hard hats and protective footwear, provides yet another way to take action against potential risks.

Summary Of The Basic Standards Of Scaffolding

On any construction site across Australia, there is a need for extra attention to be given to health and safety. 

When installing, adapting, dismantling or transporting scaffolding, adhering to such standards and understanding the key responsibilities of each individual is essential. 

In this way, scaffolding can successfully play a role in providing a safe and stable environment for workers to carry out their duties and complete their work.

If you are looking for knowledgeable and experienced scaffolders, who have leading-hands that work together with you and offer expert advice, please contact us at Skelscaff today on 1300 266 607 or email us at [email protected].

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