Scaffolding is temporary support platforms designed to assist construction workers and materials in building and repairing structures. Unfortunately, the construction industry one of the most dangerous industries in Australia with the third highest rate of accidents and fatalities. Considering that scaffolding is used to assist workers and materials when working at heights, any errors can be fatal so it’s paramount that the design and assembly of scaffolding equipment is well-planned and executed.
Qualified scaffolders perform a wide range of tasks from fitting scaffolding materials together, laying the flooring on each level of scaffolding, and disassembling scaffolding once the job has been completed. Along with this, qualified scaffolders are also responsible for complying with various workplace health and safety measures during the design phase of each project. Scaffolding should only be erected where it is safe to do so (away from power lines and other hazards) and installing fall prevention systems such as roof safety mesh, guard rails, and barriers must also be considered.
To be able to perform scaffolding work where a person or object can fall more than four metres in height, you must hold a ‘High Risk Work Licence for Scaffolding’. Even if a person or object can fall less than four metres, every construction company has an obligation to ensure that workplace health and safety standards are being upheld for all workers on a construction site. This includes providing information, instructions, training, and supervision to workers to ensure that scaffolding is safely erected, dismantled, maintained, and altered.
How to get a High Risk Work Licence for Scaffolding
There are three classes of High Risk Work Licences that scaffolders can obtain: Scaffolding Basic, Scaffolding Intermediate, and Scaffolding Advanced. The following outlines the type of work a scaffolder can perform once obtaining each of these licences.
- Prefabricated scaffolds
- Cantilevered hoist with a load limit not exceeding 500 kilograms (materials only)
- Gin wheels
- Safety nets and static lines
- Bracket scaffolds (tank and formwork)
In addition to all the work that falls under Scaffolding Basic:
- Tube and coupler scaffolds including tube and coupler covered ways and gantries
- Cantilever and spurred scaffolds
- Cantilever crane loading platforms
- Mast climbers
- Barrow ramps and sloping platforms
- Scaffolding associated with perimeter safety screens and shutters
In addition to all the work that falls under Scaffolding Basic and Scaffolding Intermediate:
- Hung scaffolds, including scaffolds hanging from tubes, wire ropes and chains
- Suspended scaffolds
If you wish to obtain your Scaffolding Advanced certification, you need to complete both your Scaffolding Basic and Scaffolding Intermediate training.
Once you have completed the relevant training and have been successfully assessed as competent, you must lodge your paperwork at a relevant Government organisation within 60 days to receive your High Risk Work Licence. The fees to obtain each licence vary from state to state.
Once you have received your High Risk Work Licence, it is valid for five years and includes the licence class and expiry date. All qualified scaffolders must carry their licence with them when performing any scaffolding work. Once your licence has expired, you’ll need to contact the relevant Government organisation in your state to renew it. Even though you obtain your High Risk Work Licence through your state’s relevant body, all High Risk Work Licences are nationally recognised throughout Australia.
Interested in obtaining your licence?
To become a successful scaffolder, there are various skills and attributes needed. Scaffolding is physically demanding work, so strength and fitness is required to be able to perform the work effectively. Furthermore, a good understanding of the risks associated with working from heights and working with tools, chemicals, and heavy objects is required. Overall, an excellent awareness of health and safety is needed along with high attention to detail.
If you’re interested in talking with a scaffolding professional before undertaking your High Risk Work Licence for Scaffolding, get in touch with Uni-Span by phoning 1300 882 825.