Builders and contractors are being urged by WorkSafe inspectors to make scaffolding a safety priority on Victorian construction sites after a string of serious injuries and near misses in recent months. WorkSafe has investigated 13 scaffold-related incidents since April and ten of these resulted in injuries to workers.
WorkSafe has announced inspectors will be visiting construction sites throughout July and August to ensure sites are managing the hazards and risks associated with the use of scaffolds.
WorkSafe construction program manager Dermot Moody says poorly built or maintained scaffolding is an ongoing issue.
“We know that it only takes one missing handrail or the removal of a scaffold plank for a worker to fall and sustain life-threatening injuries – or worse. Every builder or principal contractor must ensure that scaffolds on their site are monitored and maintained to ensure safe access.”
WorkSafe tips for maintaining safe scaffolds include:
- Inducting all workers into the site rules for scaffolds, such as no unauthorised modifications/alterations are to be made to scaffolds
- Providing warning signs and barriers to restrict access to incomplete scaffolds
- Using scaffolding only for the purpose for which it was designed
- Identifying, removing or replacing damaged scaffolding
- Ensuring scaffolding is erected by an appropriately trained/licensed person
- Maintaining No Go Zones around power lines during scaffold erection and dismantling activities
“WorkSafe wants every builder, contractor, self-employed person and worker to recognise and understand the risks associated with unsafe scaffolding,” says Dermot.