Scaffold standard breaks glass atrium causing worker to fall (12 November 2020)
A 32 year old worker fell approximately 4m after the glass atrium roof he was standing on smashed. Scaffolding immediately above the glass atrium roof was being dismantled and a scaffold standard fell onto and smashed the glass panel the worker was standing on. The worker suffered pelvic and limb injuries, concussion, severe cuts and bruising in the fall. A courier walking through the foyer of the building at the time also suffered minor injuries as a result of the incident.
Reasonably practicable control measures must be implemented to manage the risks associated with dismantling scaffold and working at heights. You must make sure:
- workers must hold the correct High Risk Work Licence when dismantling scaffolding
- workers are provided with an adequate Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) before starting any high-risk construction work, which should be kept on-site until the scaffold is dismantled
- any work undertaken at the workplace is done in accordance with the SWMS provided
- principal contractors have systems in place to ensure proper planning and sequencing of trades so that the scaffold remains structurally safe and compliant throughout the build, including ensuring components are stacked appropriately through the dismantling process
- exclusion zones are established so that only workers involved in dismantling process can access the area
- consideration is given to damage that may occur from falling objects and controls are implemented to minimise this risk, including those that may impact areas outside of the workplace and other persons
- new workers to the workplace are provided with adequate information and supervision to manage health and safety, such as inductions
- work is undertaken from secure surfaces/platforms that are specifically designed to support the weight of persons and/or construction materials.
Scaff Safe 2020
SafeWork NSW continues to target scaffold safety on construction sites. Inspectors are attending worksites and talking with employers and workers to ensure compliance. Inspectors are also working with scaffold suppliers and installers to ensure scaffolds are built to standard and are safe.
On-the-spot fines of $720 for individuals and $3,600 for employers can be issued to those who place workers lives at risk from falls from heights, or for undertaking scaffolding work without a high risk work licence.
- Safe Work Australia: Scaffolds and scaffolding work general guide
- Construction falls from heights safety checklist (PDF 503kb)
- Guidance material on falling objects
- AS\NZS 4576-1995 Guidelines for scaffolding