Scaffolding dismantling injury, response and law

A worker was knocked about 2 metres to the ground during scaffolding dismantling, when a standard slipped through the hands of a worker above him.

A team of construction subcontractors were dismantling scaffolding along the perimeter of a building by the handball method, passing components down by a chain of workers, reports Buildsafe SA.

A scaffolder at level 4 passed a standard down to a colleague at level 3, but failed to grasp the standard properly, letting it slip through his hands down to the scaffold lift level.

The receiving worker’s hard hat prevented more serious injury. He suffered head injuries, was treated in hospital and received six stitches to his head.

Scaffolding dismantling incident causes

Buildsafe SA lists the causes of the incident as;
• lack of adequate risk assessment
• failure to identify and manage the hazard of falling material during handling
• lack of a directly risk-related relevant Safe Operating Procedure.

Scaffolding dismantling incident response

The construction employer took these corrective actions;
• Ground crews must access work sites, and work under protection of the deck above, or be protected by other means.
• Where scaffolding decks are high, with multiple manual handling of equipment, the work zone must be barricaded, and signposted as at risk of falling objects.
• The hierarchy of controls must be applied.
• Elimination of the task of manual dismantling should be considered.

Laws relevant to scaffolding dismantling

These laws and standards apply to scaffolding work;
• GNR 1020 of 18 July 2003, Notice of incorporation of Code of Practise SANS 085, Design, Erection, Use and Inspection of Access Scaffolding. Incorporation means that the standard is enforced by law.
• Section 11 Safety Precautions, 11.3.4 Equipment that cannot be carried safely must be raised and lowered in a safe manner.
• Section 16 Training requirements for scaffolding personnel, 16.2.2 Syllabus for general workers (Scaffolding).

Articles on work at height legislation

OHS Act Construction Regulations 2013 draft;

Relevance of the Construction Regulations on mining sites;

The organised work at height service industry and Institute of Work at Height (IWH) are linked to a British body and standards;

Sources; Buildsafe SA.

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