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Work platform fall sparks alert

SafeWork NSW has issued an alert following an incident where a construction worker sustained serious head injuries after he fell from a work platform, a plank, which was resting on an A-frame ladder at one end and scaffolding on the other.

The regulator says that, when working at heights on work platforms or scaffolds, the following reasonably practicable control measures should be taken:

  • always use a suitable work platform (such as scaffolds, elevated work platforms, booms or scissor lifts) for the task;
  • ensure workers are trained in how to use the suitable work platform or scaffold;
  • provide workers with a safe way to access and exit the work area;
  • ensure a safe work method statement is prepared for all high-risk construction work; and
  • make sure a plan is in place in case of an emergency.

When using scaffolds, operators must ensure that:

  • a suitable system of work is in place for the task and compliant to AS/NZS 1576.1 – importantly:
  • working platforms must be at least 450mm wide;
  • edge protection must be installed on platforms that are 2m or higher; and
  • edge protection must be installed on other platforms where the nature of work prevents the worker being fully aware of the proximity to the platform edge;
  • scaffolds are erected and dismantled by competent persons in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, and by persons who hold the appropriate class of high-risk work licence where required;
  • the scaffold is stable at all times, including during erection, in situ, during and after any alterations, and when dismantling; and
  • people can’t access incomplete scaffolds.
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