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A guide to Queensland scaffolding regulations

As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), it’s important to be aware that the process of erecting, altering, using and dismantling scaffolding at a workplace poses potential fall risks to workers. In instances where components are not properly secured, scaffolding also exposes workers to risks where an object could fall.

For this reason, it’s critical that PCBU’s comply with all requirements set out in the relevant legislation.

Legislative requirements for scaffolding in Queensland are located in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. The below summaries provide a brief overview of the definitions and requirements laid out in the legislation, however, it is always recommended to consult the full legal requirements for obligative clarity.

 

Scaffolding definition:

In legal terms, scaffolding is defined as being any temporary structure designed to facilitate access or support working platforms, including:

  • Prefabricated and modular scaffolds
  • Coupler and tube scaffolds
  • Suspended scaffolds
  • Spur scaffolds
  • Cantilevered scaffolds
  • Hung scaffolds

 

Scaffolding regulations / requirements summary:

High-risk licence

Scaffolding is described as being high-risk construction work. This means that companies erecting, using and dismantling scaffolding must hold the appropriate licenses. This type of high-risk work is broken into three levels of risk, each of which hold their own technique and safety requirements: basic, intermediate and advanced scaffolding.

To gain a more complete understanding of the types of licenses required, or to apply for one of the three licenses, click here.

 

Safe work method statements

For any high-risk construction work, allocated personnel are required to produce a safe work method statement. This is particularly important in instances where the work exposes workers to the risk of falling more than 2 metres. These method statements must be prepared prior to starting works and duty holders must ensure that work is consistent with the statement.

To learn more about preparing a safe work method statement, click here.

 

Written confirmation & inspection by a competent person 

Under WHS Regulation 2011, s225(2), the person in charge of the workplace scaffold must ensure that scaffolding is not used until they have received written confirmation from a competent person that the scaffold is complete and ready for use.

Furthermore, it’s also required that the competent person has inspected the scaffold and supporting structure before use, before use is restarted after an incident, before use is restarted after maintenance / repairs and at least every 30 days.

If, during the inspection, the competent person believes the scaffold to create risk to worker health and safety, necessary repairs must be carried out before work resumes. The scaffold must then also pass an additional inspection by the competent person.

To learn more about what constitutes a competent person, please refer to the WHS Regulation 2011.

 

 Unauthorised access 

The person in charge of the workplace scaffolding must take adequate measures to prevent any person from accessing the scaffolding site where it is incomplete or unattended unless they have express permission to do so.

 

Erecting & dismantling scaffolding

A PCBU cannot erect or instruct another person to erect scaffolding on a site where workers are exposed to fall risks of 3 metres for housing and construction, or 2 metres for all other construction types. Erection in these instances should only occur once:

  • Control measures have been put in place to prevent a fall
  • A fall arrest harness has been implemented, or
  • The scaffolding complies with r306P(4) (erecting) or s306Q(3)(b) (dismantling) – specific and detailed processes for risk minimisation in scaffolding

 

Notifiable Incidents

In dangerous incidents where there is a collapse (or partial collapse) of a scaffolding structure or where a person or object falls from a height, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland must be notified.

To help determine whether an incident is a notifiable incident, click here.

 

Scaffolding with Commercial Project Services

CPS are dedicated to delivering safe working conditions through the provision of compliant scaffolding structures. As part of our internal code of practice, our team are dedicated to delivering our services with zero harm to employees, partners, contractors and the community.

Operating with complete integrity and accountability and utilising our state-of-the-art integrated management system for harm reduction, CPS are confident in the consistent delivery of safer scaffolds and scaffolding supports for your business.

Click here to learn more about how we work or get in touch with our team on (07) 3105 2831 to discuss your next project.