The rules and regulations behind scaffolding

‘Working at height’ can be working on any roof. In residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, there are guidelines to follow to minimise risk, and these should be followed, contractor or not.

Fixing things on roofs and working on guttering is far more hazardous than many realise. SiteSafe says doing nothing is not an option. Bad weather, weak materials, and old age make us even more prone to slips and falls.

There are alternatives to scaffolding, such as guardrails and harnesses, yet anything that can’t be safely done without a scaffold shouldn’t be done. To legally set up and use a scaffold, regulations must be adhered to. Aside from a safety plan, detailed with appropriate emergency procedures and communicated effectively to all workers on site, there are requirements around scaffold structure, platform width, edge protection, and a lengthy list of assessments to avoid safety hazards.

If you’re involved in the scaffolding process at all, it is essential to have the knowledge, skills, and certifications to work safely. It is not an area to apply the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude. Some of these specifications are the ability to make calculations, read site plans and design drawings, understand equipment and assembly methods, and set up and dismantle scaffolding correctly.

Prior to starting any work, there are a few hoops to jump through. Various forms specific to different heights and scaffold sizes, such as hazardous work and traffic and risk management, are required to be completed and ticked off by site management. A scaffolder’s certificate of competency should also be provided.

The appropriate inspections must be completed. Site management must ensure information tags are fitted, the scaffold is sufficient for its use, suspended and special scaffolds are registered and inspected, a scaffold’s support and its foundation and access areas are suitable, and much more.

To put up scaffolds over five metres high, a specific class of certification of competence is needed.

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