Risk Management in Scaffolding Rental Services

May 27, 2020

Scaffolding is the installation of 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 can’t be done at ground level or on a finished floor. Under the model WHS Act, the scaffold is classified as a structure. Regulations relating to structures and plant both apply to the scaffold.

Scaffolding is composed of the individual components, for example tubes, couplers or frames and materials that when assembled form a scaffold. Under the model WHS Act, these individual components are classified as plant.

Scaffolding work is the erecting, altering or dismantling a temporary structure erected to support a platform and from which a person or object could fall more than four metres from the platform or the structure. Under the model WHS Regulations, much scaffolding work is classified as high risk and must be carried out by someone who holds the appropriate class of high-risk work licence. Below are the risk management in scaffolding rental duties.

Work Health and Safety Duties

Everyone in the workplace has work health and safety duties. Some have specific responsibilities for scaffolds and scaffolding, including: designers, scaffolding contractors and workers who carry out scaffolding work, principal contractors for construction projects where the cost of construction work is $250,000 or more.

Managing Risks

You should manage risks by following a systematic process of:

Identifying Hazards— Find out what could go wrong and what could cause harm.

Assessing Risks if Necessary—Understand the nature of the harm each hazard could cause, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening.

Controlling Risks—Implement the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable in the circumstances.

Find Out What Could Cause Harm - When it comes to scaffolding, the following can help you identify potential hazards: Walk around the workplace to identify areas where scaffolds are used or scaffolding work is performed and where there is interaction with vehicles, pedestrians and fixed structures. Look at the environment in which the scaffold is to be used including checking ground conditions. Identify the major functional requirements of the scaffold like the maximum live and dead loads and access requirements. Inspect the scaffolding before and after use.

Ask your workers about any problems they encounter or anticipate at your workplace when constructing or interacting with scaffolds and scaffolding work— Consider operation, inspection, maintenance, repair, transport and storage requirements. Inspect the erected scaffold. Review your incident and injury records including near misses. Take action to control the risk. For risks it is not reasonably practicable to completely eliminate, consider the following options in the order they appear below to minimise risks, so far as is reasonably practicable:

Substitute the Hazard for Something Safer - For example using mechanical aids like cranes, hoists, pallet jacks or trolleys to move equipment and materials wherever possible instead of manually lifting scaffolding. Isolate the hazard from people, for example install concrete barriers to separate pedestrians and powered mobile plant from scaffolds to minimise the risk of collision.

Use Engineering Controls - For example provide toe boards, perimeter containment sheeting or overhead protective structures to prevent objects falling and hitting workers or other people below the work area. 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.

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