Scaffolding collapse: Cars crushed after incident in Gosford, NSW

Multiple cars have been crushed and one woman hospitalised after a scaffolding collapse on the NSW Central Coast.

A row of cars have been crushed and one woman hospitalised with head injuries after a scaffolding collapse in Gosford on the New South Wales Central Coast on Wednesday, 19th August 2020.

A Fire & Rescue NSW spokesman says they sent two crews to the scene after being called at 3.21pm on Wednesday to “scaffolding down on eight cars”.

A NSW Ambulance spokesman said a woman, believed to be in her 40s, has been taken to Gosford Hospital with a head injury. The patient is 45 and has serious injuries.
 

“It appears there was one occupant in a car,” the FRNSW spokesman said. He said a light pole had also come down and an energy company had been brought in to manage it. The pole can be seen in photographs from the scene resting on the back of a white ute in the middle of the road.

A SafeWork NSW spokesman has said in a statement: “SafeWork NSW is onsite and investigating the collapse of scaffolding hoarding at a building site on Mann Street, Gosford this afternoon.”
 

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast “very windy conditions” across NSW today however it is currently unclear whether wind contributed to the incident.
 

SafeWork NSW issued a safety alert yesterday, due to the wind warning, reminding managers, supervisors and workers “of the risks associated with high or strong gusting winds in the building and construction industry”.
 “You must proactively manage the risks caused by high winds on construction sites, as they can cause death and destruction,” it states.

The alert urges site managers to ensure temporary structures such as scaffolds “are adequately designed for wind loading and check they are securely tied to the building or structure”.

SafeWork SA issues scaffolding collapse safety alert

Thursday, 25 June, 2020

Originally published by safetysolution.net.au

On 19 May 2020, approximately 20 metres of free-standing perimeter containment scaffolding collapsed into a public street during high winds at Murray Bridge, South Australia. While no-one was injured, the risk was high, prompting SafeWork SA to issue a reminder to businesses to ensure that safe systems of work are in place when using free-standing scaffolding to minimise the risk of a collapse. The collapse or partial collapse of scaffolding poses a serious risk of injury, or death to workers and the general public. It can also cause damage to surrounding structures.

A free-standing scaffold is a scaffold that is not attached to any other structure, yet is stable against overturning on its own account, or if necessary, assisted by stabilisers, outriggers, counterweights or buttress bays. The height of free-standing scaffolding must not exceed three times the minimum base width dimension.

When perimeter containment screens, shade cloth or signs are attached to scaffolding, environmental loads imposed by wind and rain increase the risk of it collapsing or becoming damaged. To avoid the risk of collapse for free-standing scaffolding, businesses need to consult with the scaffold designer or supplier before attaching additional parts that may impose new loads on the scaffold. Businesses must also ensure that the scaffold can withstand any anticipated loads and forces, such as wind loads.

Businesses should consider improving scaffolding stability by staggering the joints in standards, tying the scaffold to a supporting structure, or increasing the stability by securely attaching counterweights. Stability can also be improved by adding bays to increase the base dimension (buttress bays), or attaching stabilisers (back propping). Businesses should also develop procedures to inspect and maintain the scaffold, to ensure it is safe and remains that way.

Scaffold planning and design must ensure the most suitable structure is used to provide safe access to stable working platforms, ensuring the risk of collapse is managed before, during and after its placement. Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), businesses are obligated to ensure the safety of workers and any other persons so far as is reasonably practicable. While everyone in the workplace has work health and safety duties, some have specific responsibilities for scaffolding, including designers, scaffolding contractors and workers who carry out scaffolding work, and principal contractors for construction projects where the cost of construction work is $450,000 or more.

For scaffolding companies, these workers may not only be the workers of the immediate client, but also other workers on the construction site. The scaffolding company must ensure the safety of all those workers. Workers also have specific responsibilities for scaffolding, and must ensure that they do not alter any scaffolding, unless qualified to do so.

Scaffshield™ — An innovation in Scaffold control & safety

MBA NSW Magazine January – March 2020 Issue 1

Scaffshield™ is a patented, anti-tamper assembly
that can be applied to scaffold couplers and node
points to stop unauthorised loosening or removal
of scaffold ties, ledgers and hop ups along with ladder
beams, stairs and the like.
It is the first and only control measure of its kind to
reduce scaffold tampering.
The application of Scaffshield™ onto any structure will
reduce the risks of scaffold incidents leading to site
disruptions, major injuries or fatalities.
Scaffshield™ was developed following a tragic incident
in Macquarie Park, Sydney in April of 2019 where a fixed
scaffold collapsed killing a worker and seriously injuring
another man whilst working on a large scale residential
project.
From this devastating incident it became clear that
more control was required to ensure the safety of
workers involved in erection of scaffold and working on
scaffolding.
This was further reinforced by the findings in Safework
NSW recent ‘Operation Scaffsafe blitz’ which identified
numerous instances where scaffold had been altered
or modified by unauthorised personnel, or had missing
parts or components whilst still being used.
The Scaffshield™ assembly is comprised of a nut
within a free spinning outer sleeve, which is installed
on a typical scaffold coupler t-bolt using a custom
manufactured Scaffkey.
The free spinning sleeve is screwed down to sit over the
coupler nut, preventing any standard shifting tool from
loosening the coupler nut.
A custom manufactured key known as the Scaffkey
is used to install and remove the Scaffshield™ over
the coupler nut. Scaffkeys are numbered and leased
via a tightly controlled register. They are only available
to site authorised supervisors and can’t be copied or
purchased.
The installation is simple and non intrusive, with
Scaffshield™ installed as part of the erection process
or can be easily retrofitted. A single Scaffshield™ unit
can typically be installed within 10-15 seconds over the
existing scaffold coupler nut.
Scaffshield™ ultimate feature is the control it gives to
scaffold supervisors, site and safety managers as to
when and how components are removed for ease of
work or during dismantling of the scaffold itself. The
highly visible yellow Scaffshield™ caps bring piece of
mind that the structure is complete, untampered and
ultimately safe.
The product has received resoundingly positive
feedback following release in October 2019 with major
construction companies such as Lend Lease, Built,
FDC, Probuild, Kane Constructions and many more
agreeing to trial Scaffshield ™ on their sites.

www.scaffshield.com
1300 869 572
Scaffshield™ — An innovation
in Scaffold control & safety

Speak Up to report unsafe work

Originally published by Safework NSW on safework.nsw.gov.au

It’s easy for you to report unsafe work and be completely confidential – if you want it to be.

You’re at work and you notice something unsafe …

You try to tell your boss or supervisor but they brush it off?

Or they sort it out but it happens again the next day?

Or you don’t tell anyone at all because you’re worried it might create problems for you?

There are a million scenarios that if not fixed or reported can lead to an incident where somebody gets seriously hurt or even killed.

So Speak Up.

It’s now easier for you to report unsafe work and completely confidential – if you want it to be.

Speak Up triggers a routine SafeWork NSW response: your report is assessed, and we take action as needed.

For instance, if you decide to provide your contact details we might first provide advice about what you can do to help fix the issue.

You’re not alone – we will talk you through how you can raise the matter with the people responsible and what the law says about what you have described.

If what you have told us could potentially cause a very serious incident, we might need to send an inspector out to your workplace.

If you have chosen to provide your details, we will also keep you updated and let you know what the outcome of your report was.

You will also get a reference number so you can follow up your report.

This tool is specifically for notifying unsafe work – don’t use it to notify an incident, this should be done by the person in charge on 13 10 50, but you can also call this number if an incident hasn’t been notified.

Jodie Deakes, SafeWork NSW Director of Operational Capability, said workplace safety starts with everyone, even if you’re the youngest or newest employee or English is not your first language.

“We understand you may not always be in the position to raise an issue. If you have tried or can’t, we want you to use Speak Up instead,” Ms Deakes said.

“Speaking up about unsafe work can be hard for some. If you’re a young worker, you come from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, have recently migrated to Australia or you are working as a labour hire employee, Speak Up can overcome the barriers that stop you from asserting your rights.

“But don’t forget that while you have the right to a safe and healthy workplace, you also have an obligation to report unsafe work or unhealthy work environments.

“Consider approaching your supervisor, safety representative or employer first, but if you can’t the most important thing is that you do speak up.

“Dodgy is dangerous, so if you think something isn’t right – Speak Up.

“Speaking up could prevent you or your workmates experiencing the worst day of your life.”

Scaff Safe 2020

SafeWork NSW

13 March 2020

Scaff Safe 2020

SafeWork NSW will continue to target scaffold safety on construction sites throughout 2020. Inspectors will be attending worksites and talking with employers and workers to ensure compliance. Inspectors will also be working with scaffold suppliers and installers to ensure scaffolds are built to standard and are safe.

On-the-spot fines of $720 for individuals and $3,600 for employers can be issued to those who place workers lives at risk from falls from heights, or for undertaking scaffolding work without a high risk work licence.

When looking at scaffolds, our inspectors will be checking that scaffolds:

  • are built to Australian Standards
  • are not missing components
  • are erected, dismantled or altered by people with the correct scaffolding high risk work licence
  • remain compliant throughout the construction project.

See our findings from 2019 in our Operation Scaff Safe 2019 project report.

Conduct a scaffold safety check

To ensure you have a safe and compliant scaffold on site, principal contractors or scaffolders can use this checklist to conduct a basic inspection.

Duty holder obligations

As an employer, principal contractor, and/or a PCBU, you have the main responsibility for the health and safety of everyone in your workplace, including visitors. This is your primary duty of care.

There are specific laws about working with plant, including scaffolding to make sure it is safe for users and people nearby.

Managing the scaffold

Principal contractors (and others who manage or control the scaffold) must control the risks associated with the scaffold. This includes ensuring:

  • the scaffold is only erected, altered and dismantled by a worker with the appropriate scaffolding high risk work (HRW) licence. You can check a high risk work licence is valid by visiting http://www.licencecheck.nsw.gov.au
  • the scaffold has been inspected at the following intervals:
    • before first use
    • prior to use after alterations or repairs
    • after an event (eg high winds or storms, hit by plant, unauthorized modifications) that could affect scaffold integrity or stability, and
    • at regular intervals not exceeding 30 days.
  • a handover certificate is obtained from the scaffolder and is kept on-site until the scaffold has been dismantled
  • site inductions and ongoing toolbox talks clearly state that unlicenced workers are prohibited from altering a scaffold, and who to contact if the scaffold needs altering or repair
  • workers are prevented from accessing incomplete sections of the scaffold
  • that scaffolders provide an adequate Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) before starting any high-risk construction work, which should be kept on-site until the scaffold is dismantled
  • any work undertaken at the worksite is done in accordance with the SWMS provided
  • Principal contractors have systems in place to ensure proper planning and sequencing of trades so that the scaffold remains safe and compliant throughout the build.

Incidents

Scaffold incidents most commonly involve:

  • people falling from scaffolds that are poorly erected, incomplete or have been altered without authorisation
  • people falling from scaffolding due to misuse such as standing on guardrails
  • scaffold collapse or failure of components due to incorrect assembly, incompatible componentry, overloading or unauthorised alteration such as tie removal
  • objects falling off scaffolds and hitting people below
  • scaffolds being struck by mobile plant or vehicles or being snagged by a crane.

Training and licensing

An appropriate scaffolding licence must be held by anyone performing scaffolding work on a scaffold where a person or object could fall more than 4 metres from the platform or structure. Unlicenced workers and their supervisors could each be issued with an on-the-spot fine of up to $3,600.

The type of scaffold to be erected and dismantled will determine the class of scaffolding licence required, for example, basic scaffolding (SB), intermediate scaffolding (SI) or advanced scaffolding (SA).

If you are a scaffolder and doing the wrong thing, you could also have your licence suspended or cancelled, and any compliance action taken will be publicly displayed on your licence records.

Australian scaffolding industry put on notice

BySM Newsdesk

New data has revealed that nearly half of all construction sites in New South Wales (NSW) have non-compliant scaffolding.

The NSW government has put the industry on ‘notice’ after a safety blitz on more than 700 building sites by SafeWorkNSW.

Inspectors shockingly discovered that 44 per cent of scaffolds had missing components, while 36 per cent of scaffolds had been altered by unlicensed workers or removed components.

Since the tragic death in April of Christopher Cassaniti a teenage apprentice who was crushed to death in a scaffolding collapse, SafeWorkNSW has been targeting unsafe scaffolds.

To date the government agency has handed out 832 notices, including $109,000 (£59,512) on-the-spot fines.

Ms Cassaniti has become a workplace safety advocate since her son’s death and said change could not come quickly enough.

“To me it is not surprising to find that the statistics have come back so bad,” she said.

“I heard the workers complain a lot when they are on site and in dangerous situations.”

She said she did not want her son to become “another statistic”.

“Scaffolders put their scaffolds up, they tag it and then the workers go and use the scaffolding but some remove parts they should not, just to get the job done quickly,” Ms Cassaniti told ABC News.

NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said: “It is clear that more needs to be done to get the safety message through to people, which is why this month the NSW Government will be rolling out a number of new initiatives which aim to protect workers from serious injury or death.”

The Scaffshield team recently installed our system at a project in Sydney CBD for Probuild Constructions

The Scaffshield team recently installed our system at a project in Sydney CBD for Probuild Constructions to assist with securing scaffold ties that were supporting large elevations of scaffold adjacent to busy Sydney streets. Probuild approached Scaffshield to provide an engineered control to stop unauthorised removal, modification and tampering of this critical temporary structure. It is very impressive to see Probuild Constructions proactive approach to continual improvement regarding WHS in their business.