Sydney scaffolding collapse – Obligations and Safety

News reports about injuries sustained by workers at a recent scaffolding collapse at a Sydney worksite provide a timely reminder about the obligations and safety requirements related to the use of scaffolds and scaffolding work.Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 4.14.24 pm

When working at height a scaffold can be installed to provide a safe place to work.

Specific requirements apply to scaffolds that are:

  • suspended
  • cantilevered
  • spur
  • hung
  • any other scaffold from which a person or thing can fall more than four metres.



The person with management or control of the scaffold must ensure the scaffold is not used unless there is a written confirmation of completion from a competent person who has inspected the scaffold after its construction. 

In addition, they must ensure the scaffold and its supporting structure are inspected by a competent person:

  • after an incident occurs that is expected to affect the stability of the scaffold
  • if repairs are made
  • at least every 30 days.

In addition, necessary repairs, alterations and additions must be carried out when a scaffold or its supporting structure creates a risk to health and safety. A competent person must inspect the scaffold before reuse.

Unauthorised access

The person with management or control must prevent unauthorised access while the scaffold is being constructed or if it is unattended.

The WorkCover industry safety standard for Erecting, altering and dismantling of prefabricated steel modular scaffolding provides more information. Those involved in the erection, alteration or dismantling of scaffolding require a high risk work licence.

There is also the draft Safe Work Australia Draft Code of Practice.  Click here to download

You can also refer to our previous Safety Alert from September 2013 “Collapse of Scaffolding

For further information and assistance please contact Safety Services Australia on +61 29634 5912  or