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Guidelines for scaffolding

Overview of the Australian Standard AS 4576 guidelines for scaffolding. This information supports the digital Australian Standard that can be purchased online through the HIA Shop.

Overview of the standard 

This Australian Standard gives practical guidance for training, the preparation of sites for scaffolding, and the safe selection, supply, erection, alteration, dismantling, maintenance, inspection and use of scaffolding and scaffolding equipment. 

The standard includes guidance on modular scaffolds, prefabricated scaffolds, trestle scaffolds, trestle ladder scaffolds, bracket scaffolds, mobile scaffolds, and other types of scaffolds.

What the standard includes

AS 4576: 2020 is broken into 12 sections consisting of:

  • Section 1 deals with what the standard covers, exclusions and the terms used in the standard.
  • Section 2 deals with the training needed to erect, alter, and dismantle scaffolds correctly, safely and efficiently. 
  • Section 3 deals with common scaffold hazards.
  • Section 4 deals with the site for erection, including public places and work areas.
  • Section 5 deals with the tools and equipment used for scaffolding work.
  • Section 6 deals with the planning process for selecting scaffolding and its installation design. 
  • Section 7 deals with general design matters, including foundations, stability, tying, rigidity, working platforms, edge protection, access and egress. 
  • Section 8 deals with the relevant standards for scaffold materials and the inspection of used equipment.
  • Section 9 deals with the general construction of scaffolds.
  • Section 10 provides additional guidance for specific types of scaffolds.
  • Section 11 deals with the matters to consider before, during and after use of a scaffold.
  • Section 12 deals with the inspection and maintenance of scaffold structures.

This standard also contains five informative appendices consisting of:

  • Appendix A is a glossary of the terms used in the standard.
  • Appendix B contains general loading information for scaffold components and materials. 
  • Appendix C is an inspection checklist for safety belts and harnesses.
  • Appendix D is an inspection checklist for self-locking anchorages.
  • Appendix E is an inspection checklist for scaffolds.

Is the standard referenced in NCC or other legislation?

No, it is not specifically referenced in safety legislation, though safety codes of practice refer to this standard as guidance on the safe selection, supply, erection, alteration, dismantling, maintenance, inspection and use of scaffolding and scaffolding equipment.

Who the standard is for

The primary users of this standard are scaffolders, scaffold suppliers, builders and building contractors.

Related Australian standards

  • AS/NZS 1576 Scaffolding series
  • AS/NZS 1577 Scaffold decking components

To find out more, contact HIA's Building Services team.

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