Goal Zero
Scaffolding

What is a scaffold?

A scaffold is a temporary structure erected to support access or working platforms. Scaffolds are commonly used in construction work so workers have a safe, stable work platform when work cannot be done at ground level or on a finished floor.

Scaffolding means the individual components, for example tubes, couplers or frames and materials that when assembled form a scaffold. Scaffolding is classified as plant under Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act.

Scaffolding work is erecting, altering or dismantling a temporary structure erected to support a platform and from which a person or object could fall more than 4 metres from the platform or the structure. Scaffolding work must be undertaken by a person holding the appropriate class of high risk work licence. This definition applies whenever the term 'scaffolding work' is used in this Guide.

Law Who has duties under the law?

Everyone in the workplace has work health and safety duties. A range of people have specific responsibilities for scaffolds and scaffolding including:

Scaffolding

How can risks be managed?

Use the following steps to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other people are not exposed to health and safety risks.

Risk Management Find out what could cause harm. The following can help you identify potential hazards:
Risk Management  Take action to control the risk. The work health and safety laws require a business or undertaking do all that is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise risks.

The ways of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of risk control. You must work through this hierarchy to manage risks.

The first thing to consider is whether hazards can be completely removed from the workplace. For example, risks can be eliminated by carrying out work at ground level or on completed floors of a building.

If it is not reasonably practicable to completely eliminate the risk then consider the following options in the order they appear below to minimise risks, so far as is reasonably practicable:

If after implementing the above control measures a risk still remains, consider the following controls in the order below to minimise the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable:

A combination of the controls set out above may be used if a single control is not enough to minimise the risks.

You need to consider all possible control measures and make a decision about which are reasonably practicable for your workplace. Deciding what is reasonably practicable includes the availability and suitability of control measures, with a preference for using substitution, isolation or engineering controls to minimise risks before using administrative controls or PPE. Cost may also be relevant, but you can only consider this after all other factors have been taken into account.

Risk Management  Assess the risk. In many cases the risks and related control measures will be well known. In other cases you may need to carry out a risk assessment to identify the likelihood of somebody being harmed by the hazard and how serious the harm could be. A risk assessment can help you determine what action you should take to control the risk and how urgently the action needs to be taken.
Risk Management  Take action to control the risk. The work health and safety laws require a business or undertaking do all that is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise risks.

The ways of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of risk control. You must work through this hierarchy to manage risks.

The first thing to consider is whether hazards can be completely removed from the workplace. For example, risks can be eliminated by carrying out work at ground level or on completed floors of a building.

If it is not reasonably practicable to completely eliminate the risk then consider the following options in the order they appear below to minimise risks, so far as is reasonably practicable:

If after implementing the above control measures a risk still remains, consider the following controls in the order below to minimise the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable:

A combination of the controls set out above may be used if a single control is not enough to minimise the risks.

You need to consider all possible control measures and make a decision about which are reasonably practicable for your workplace. Deciding what is reasonably practicable includes the availability and suitability of control measures, with a preference for using substitution, isolation or engineering controls to minimise risks before using administrative controls or PPE. Cost may also be relevant, but you can only consider this after all other factors have been taken into account.

Risk Management  Check your control measures regularly to ensure they are working as planned. Control measures need to be regularly reviewed to make sure they remain effective, taking into consideration any changes, the nature and duration of work and that the system is working as planned.

Source code of the article above is submitted by:

Safe Work Australia

Read the expanded article on what is a scaffold

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