VIC: safety alert issued after wall frame collapses

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.
Monday, 31 January, 2022 - 12:45
Policy & legislation

WorkSafe Victoria recently issued a safety alert highlighting the importance of ensuring the structural stability of temporary propping fixed to autoclaved aerated concrete floor systems.

The alert was issued following an incident at a residential construction site where the external timber stud frame on the first floor collapsed and fell outwards. Inadequate structural fixing between the temporary timber props and the autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) floor systems led to the frame collapse.

The alert said the incident placed employees and members of the public at significant risk of serious injuries.

During construction, the alert said wall frames require temporary propping to ensure that they remain stable and in position, until the structure is braced to support itself.

Temporary propping is often constructed from members that are installed on a diagonal between the wall frame and floor structure. Propping members should be built from structural grade materials so that the capacity of the prop can be determined.

Conventional floor systems, such as timber sheets and concrete, are often used to support temporary wall props. Under normal circumstances, conventional floor systems provide adequate anchor pull-out capacity to support wall frames.

However, non-conventional flooring systems, such as autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) do not provide the same pull-out capacity as conventional floor systems.

The alert said failing to have systems of work in place that ensures the structural integrity of the load path for temporary propping of wall frames can create a risk to the health and safety of persons being struck by a wall frame collapsing.

When temporary propping is fixed to non-conventional floor systems, such as AAC, the alert said additional systems of work or control measures need to be developed and put in place to ensure the structural integrity (of the connection from the prop to the floor system) is maintained throughout the construction process.

The alert said high-risk construction work (HRCW) may involve the risk of a structural collapse, which includes but is not limited to, construction work involving structural alterations that require temporary support to prevent collapse.