Scaffolds – separating fact from fiction
Site Safe follows up last month’s article on scissor lifts by looking at some common questions about scaffolding
One of the most common queries Site Safe receives is whether people need training to set up a low-level scaffold under five metres in height.
Everyone involved in the scaffolding process must have the knowledge and skills to perform the work safely, regardless of the height of the scaffold. You’ll also need the right certification, depending on the situation. Anyone involved in setting up, dismantling or changing any scaffold should have:
- The ability to make simple calculations (eg, working out a load).
- The ability to read and understand suppliers’ information, general site plans, design drawings and scaffold specifications.
- Thorough knowledge of the scaffolding equipment they’re using.
- Thorough knowledge of the assembly methods and design requirements associated with the scaffolding equipment they’re using.
- The ability to identify the common hazards of scaffolding work and take effective precautions to control associated risks.
- Competency to visually inspect scaffolding equipment for faults.
- The physical skills needed for scaffolding construction.
- Competency in manual lifting techniques.
- The ability to work safely and confidently at heights.
- The ability to use scaffolding tools and equipment correctly.
- The ability to erect and dismantle scaffolding in the correct sequence.
- Knowledge of the prevention of falling objects.
To set up a scaffold under five metres, you must be a ‘competent person’. Being competent means you have the knowledge and skills to carry out a particular task.
This experience could be gained through training, qualifications, experience or a combination of all of these. Be aware that the five metres is measured from the highest part of the scaffold to the ground.
For putting up scaffold above five metres, you’ll need the appropriate Certificate of Competence for the type of scaffold you’re working on. Certificates of Competence are issued by SARNZ (Scaffolding, Access and Rigging Association of New Zealand) and are valid for four years.
Site Safe is a not-for-profit, membership-based organisation that promotes, inspires and supports a culture of health and safety in New Zealand construction.