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Sydney Scaffolding Companies: Duties, Responsibilities and Obligations

30 August 2019

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 to work off when work cannot be done at ground level or on a finished floor.”" - Safe Work Australia

What do scaffolding companies in Sydney do?

Scaffolding work involves companies in Sydney, altering, erecting or deconstructing a structure to support a platform. Scaffolding needs to be undertaken by professionals who have the qualifications and licence to perform the job.

"Each year there are dozens of serious incidents involving scaffolds, including a number that result in fatalities." -  Safe Work Australia

Some of the main incidents which occur during scaffolding work include:

  • People falling from scaffolds that are poorly erected, incomplete or altered without authorisation
  • People falling from scaffolding due to misuse
  • Structure collapsing due to failure to correctly assemble
  • Objects falling off structures and injuring people below

Because of these fatalities and injuries, everyone in the workplace needs to comply with health and safety duties, including:

  • Designers
  • Scaffolding contractors
  • Directors/owners

Duties and responsibilities of scaffolding companies in Sydney

Owners and directors of scaffolding companies in Sydney have responsibilities to ensure that workers and all others involved are not exposed to health and safety risks. Owners need to manage risks and eliminate any risks that may arise.

Owners of scaffolding companies in Sydney should also ensure:

  • Provision and maintenance of safe scaffolding and scaffolds
  • Safe erection, alteration, dismantling and use of scaffolds
  • Safe use, handling, storage and transport of scaffolding

It is crucial for people who are installing or constructing scaffolding systems to ensure that work is being conducted according to standards and workplace activity. Scaffolding contractors are responsible for safely installing, building and commissioning scaffolds.

As company directors of scaffolding companies in Sydney, these members need to exercise due diligence to ensure all business activities comply with WHS. They must also take reasonable steps to ensure risk is minimised during scaffolding processes.

Workers and other contractors must:

  • Take reasonable care for their health and safety
  • Co-operate with sensible policies, procedures and instructions
  • Comply with WHS standards and not adversely affect other people’s health and safety

Scaffolding companies need to make sure they manage risk at the workplace to safeguard their workers and business from any harm. Scaffolding companies must observe and note what could cause damage, helping them identify any potential hazards on sight. An essential requirement for these companies is to ensure a safe working environment for workers. This can be done by:

  • Observing the workplace to identify where scaffolding work is going to be performed
  • Observe the environment and ground conditions
  • Inspect the scaffolding before use and after use
  • Ask workers about any problems they encounter when on sight
  • Inspect the erected scaffold
  • Review incident records

It is also a requirement that anyone performing scaffolding work where a person or object can fall four metres or more should hold an appropriate scaffolding licence.

The type of licence will depend on the type of scaffold to be erected. If one is unlicenced and undertakes scaffolding work, scaffolding companies could face a fine of up to $3600. They could also have their licence suspended or cancelled.

If you are a scaffolding company in Sydney, it is essential to take note of these requirements and legislations to minimise risk and harm in the workplace!

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