Scaffolding Collapses at Gold Coast Shopping Centre

Scaffolding has collapsed at a shopping centre on the Gold Coast which has triggered a series of safety inspections across the state.

The workplace health and safety authority Queensland is currently investigating the cause of the collapse. Luckily no one was injured in the incident. Authorities have warned that the safe erection and dismantling of scaffolding is a particularly important issue which contractors need to be aware of. Read what happened according to a post from SafetyCulture.com.au

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland are investigating, along with the construction company, why scaffolding that was a part of a new car park collapsed on Sunday.

All work has been stopped at the site until the investigation is complete, there was nobody injured on in the collapse.

David Hanna, the Builders Labourers Federation state secretary, said that scaffolding on projects in the state will be checked.

He said that this incident highlights the need for safe and correct erection and dismantling of scaffolding. The incident could have been a disaster if it had happened on a work day or if somebody walking or driving by had been injured.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/

When attempting to avoid collapse of scaffolding, select and install scaffolding components that are suitable for the task at hand and take into consideration the sequence of the construction processes.

Principal contractors should provide and maintain adequate means of attaching the scaffolding to the supporting structure so that it can withstand heavy wind, workers weight and movement etc.

Employers need to develop a safe system of work which is one that allows construction activities such as bricklaying, painting, installations etc. to be completed without any unplanned changes to the scaffolding and does not require the removal of scaffolding ties.

Work should occur in the correct sequence for example from top to bottom of the building which will allow the scaffolding to be progressively dismantled as work progresses.

Never overload the scaffolding with excessive amounts of materials, be aware of the weight limits of scaffolding structures.

Ensure that the scaffolding is able to withstand any anticipated loads or forces such as strong winds or storms.

Adequate ties and sufficient bracing are vital to ensuring the stability of scaffolding.

To prevent collapse of the scaffold, to secure vertical members together laterally and to automatically square and align vertical members, scaffolds must be braced by:

  • Cross-braces,
  • Horizontal braces,
  • Diagonal braces, or
  • A combination of braces

To prevent movement of the scaffold while it is being used in a stationary position, scaffold casters and wheels must be locked with:

  • Positive wheel locks, and/or
  • Wheel and swivel locks, or
  • Similar means

Scaffolding should only be erected and dismantled by competent workers, trained to do so.

Workers on construction sites remember:

  • You have a right to request safety equipment appropriate for working on or near scaffolding.For workers on the ground near suspended platforms, they should have hard hats and proper clothing and footwear to shield them from falling objects that can be dropped off platforms.
  • Workers on the scaffolding should wear the proper fall protection equipment, check that it is functional, and not wearing out before starting their work

Construction Safety Induction Course

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White Card Information Update: Scaffolder Safety

Source: Elliott Brown

Workers engaged in work on, near or under a scaffold as well as those tasked with erecting scaffolding on construction sites are exposed to a number of dangers in the structures erection and for the duration of its existence on the site. It is vital that the people that erect the scaffold are trained and certified to do so.

Although work from any height above 2 meters is dangerous ad can present a falling risk, scaffolders can fall from incomplete scaffolds during their erection and dismantling.

During its erection and removal in particular, scaffolders face the risk of falling from the open sides or ends of the scaffold and in climbing from one lift of the scaffold to the next lift.

Risks Involved with Scaffolding Work include:

  • Scaffolding Collapse: There is the chance that scaffold will collapse and injure workers on the structure as well as under it. The collar locking mechanism on scaffolds can be a hazard if operators do not engage the lock correctly and we have seen a lot of incidents of this nature occurring. This type of hazardous locking system is being progressively phased out in favour of an adjustable leg that has a compression-locking device. This type of locking system engages when a weight is applied to the assembled scaffold this method is favoured as it will save collapsing of the scaffold under the weight of workers.
  • Erecting or Removing Scaffold: Scaffolding risks are presented by internal falls, that occur  during the placement or removal of scaffold plants, from the open sides or ends of the scaffold known as an external fall or when climbing from one lift of the scaffold to the next lift known as a climbing fall.
  • Falling:The risk that occurs most often when working with scaffolding is the risk of external falls. This type of incident has been reported more than most other falls from scaffolding so this is what we will discuss in this post.
  • Climbing: Another risk is presented when workers climb the scaffolding. Ensuring that an appropriate access system is in place can control the risk of climbing falls for scaffolders gaining access from one lift to the next, either in the form of a stairway or ladder access that is progressively installed as the scaffold is erected.  Employers should ensure that the practice of scaffoldersclimbing the scaffold framework is strictly forbidden as this is extremely dangerous and can result in serious injury.

The risks involved with scaffolding can be controlled or managed using a combination of techniques which involves  sequential erection.

The risk of external falls from the open sides and ends of a scaffold can be controlled by adopting the “sequential erection” method. According to this method only one-bay-at-a-time is erected, sequential installation of standards and guardrails or guardrails alone. This ensures that scaffolders are not required to walk further than one bay length along an exposed edge of a scaffold platform thereby reducing the risk of falling. Dismantling involves reversing the sequence. Fully deck each lift and use the sequential erection method to progressively provide access as the scaffold is built.

There’s a stack of useful construction safety articles here

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