NSW: regulator puts scaffolding under safety spotlight
The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
SafeWork NSW inspectors recently visited construction sites across NSW to inspect scaffold structures, issuing on-the-spot fines and stop-work notices for failure to comply with NSW’s safety standards.
There was a zero-tolerance approach where scaffolds had missing critical parts, or where unlicensed workers removed or altered scaffold components, said Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson.
“This is the third annual scaffold compliance program we’ve conducted, and we will continue to visit sites until the industry meets the safety levels SafeWork expects,” Mr Anderson said.
In the last two years, SafeWork has issued more than 1,700 notices relating to scaffolds, including 600 scaffold prohibition notices requiring the activity to cease due to immediate or imminent risk.
“We need to drive the message home to principal contractors, supervisors, scaffolders, site owners and managers – we will not put up with practices that put lives at risk,” he said.
In 2021 alone, SafeWork has visited more than 60 construction sites from Tweed Heads to Ballina, issuing 96 notices including eight on the spot fines, 16 prohibition notices, and 72 improvement notices.
Over the rest of 2021, SafeWork will be focusing on risks associated with formwork, concrete pumps and working at heights.
On-the-spot fines of $3600 for businesses and $720 for individuals can be issued if scaffolds are not inspected by a competent person, if workers are at serious or imminent risk of falls from heights, or if unlicensed workers erect, alter or dismantle a scaffold.