All the scaffolding safety regulations you need to know about

scaffolding safety regulations
Photo: bridgesward via Pixabay

Scaffolding is an essential construction tool and it is impossible to complete many jobs without it. This piece of equipment is made out of metal and wood and is used to support buildings and help workmen reach the desired height during construction.

Although scaffolding often looks precarious, it is incredibly safe. However, it is important to recognise that, like many specialist construction tools, scaffolding can be dangerous if used improperly.

The type of scaffolding you use will have an impact in its safety rating; it is for this reason that it is important to use high quality scaffolding like the ones you can buy or hire from Mr Scaffold.

The type of scaffolding isn’t the only thing you need to be aware of when considering using this equipment and it is incredibly important to be aware of all the safety regulations.

Scaffolding license guidelines

If you are a tradesperson or construction worker who uses scaffolding regularly, it is important to ensure you have a valid scaffolding licence. Each state differs slightly, so make sure you are fully aware of your state’s laws. In order to obtain a licence, you will generally need to complete courses such as Scaffolding Basic, Scaffolding Intermediate and Scaffolding Advanced.

The level of course you have completed will determine which types of scaffolding you can use. Essentially, the WHS Regulations state that you must hold the correct class of scaffolding high-risk work licence to use the equipment.

Completion of a basic scaffolding licence will enable you to use:

  • Modular of prefabricated scaffolds
  • Cantilevered materials hoists with a maximum working load of 500kgs
  • Ropes
  • Gin wheels
  • Fall arrest systems including safety nets and static lines
  • Bracket scaffolds

An intermediate scaffolding licence will let you work on:

  • Cantilevered crane loading platforms
  • Spur scaffolds
  • Barrow ramps and sloping platforms
  • Mast climbing working platforms
  • Tube and coupler scaffolds

Advanced scaffolding licences will give you the skills to work with:

  • Cantilevered hoists
  • Hung scaffolds
  • Suspended scaffolds

It is important to remember that a licence will only last for five years so after this point you will need to undergo the necessary tasks to renew it.

Documentation

Although it may seem as though scaffolding comes assembled, this is not the case. Scaffolding needs to be designed and assembled by qualified professionals. After a new structure has been built, the government requires certain documents to be completed and filed. Essentially, this it to ensure that the structure is safe and meets the required standards. The types of document will depend on the specific type of scaffolding and where it is going to be used.

A prefabricated scaffolding structure needs to be registered in accordance with the model WHS Regulations. The laws state that the construction of a scaffold where someone could fall more than two metres is defined as high risk construction work under the WHS Regulations and therefore requires a SWMS.

The SWMS will describe the correct methods for safety assembling and dismantling the structure.

Choosing the correct scaffold

The type of structure chosen for any specific job will depend on factors such as:

  • The job requirements
  • The building
  • The location

Deciding on what type of scaffold to utilise on any given job is an essential part of managing the risks associated with the job. Therefore, it is important to consider all the relevant factors and opt for the structure that will be the best and the safest for the site.