One of the most important aspects of scaffolding safety is regular inspections and maintenance. While inspections are performed when the scaffolding structure is assembled, there must be frequent inspections to ensure the scaffolding remains in good condition and is safe to use throughout the duration of the project. There are many factors that can affect the stability of the structure, including weather conditions, workplace conditions, incidents, and other hazards that may arise from day to day.
To provide you with some insight, we’ve created a complete scaffolding guide that includes all relevant information related to scaffolding inspections and maintenance in Australia.
Procedures should be developed for inspecting and maintaining scaffold systems to ensure it remains in good working condition and safe to use throughout the duration of the project. The inspections of a scaffolding system becomes increasingly important the longer the scaffolding has been in use.
For cantilevered, suspended, hung, and spur scaffolds, including any other type of supporting system where a person or object could fall greater than 4m in height:
- Before the scaffolding can be used, there must be written confirmation from a competent person that the scaffolding construction is complete and an inspection has deemed the structure is safe to use
- Regular inspections must be carried out by a competent person:
- At least every 30 days
- Before the scaffolding is used after any component has been repaired
- Before the scaffolding is used where an incident may have affected the structural integrity of the scaffolding
- Where an inspection has highlighted that the scaffolding system presents one or more health and safety risks:
- The necessary repairs, additions, or alterations must be made before it is used again
- An inspection by a competent person has been performed after the repairs, additions, or alterations have been made
- Whenever the scaffolding is incomplete or unattended, such as when repairs, additions, or alterations are taking place, there is to be unauthorised access preventing any worker from mounting the structure
When a scaffolding system has been erected where a person or object can fall less than 4m in height, inspections should be performed before it is used and after any incident, repair, addition, or alteration.
Handover inspections are required whenever a scaffolding structure has just been assembled, or whenever any repairs, additions, or alterations have been made. Handover inspections typically require written confirmation from a competent person which generally takes place in the form of a handover certificate. These handover certificates must be kept at the construction site until the scaffolding is finally disassembled.
Post-handover inspections are performed whenever a competent person inspects the scaffolding system once it is in use. These inspections should be performed at least every 30 days where a person or object can fall greater than 4m in height, but may be performed at shorter intervals depending on the size of the structure, workplace conditions, weather conditions, and any other factors that could affect the stability of the structure.
The supplier (or designer) of the scaffolding system should be contacted to discuss the intervals for inspections needed to ensure the system remains safe to use. Additionally, regular scaffold maintenance should not only include inspections of the components in use, but also the components in storage. Where scaffolding is stored in areas exposed to the weather, corrosion is a common issue and each component of scaffold must be inspected before it is put to use on the construction site.
All inspection records must be kept at the construction site so they are readily available if required. Each inspection record should include the date and time of inspections, location, comments, relevant design or specification reference, along with the person who performed the inspection.