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Yes. A person undertaking scaffolding work must hold an appropriate licence to do that work or be supervised by a licensed person while carrying out that work.
Scaffolding work means:
‘erecting, altering or dismantling a temporary structure that is or has been erected to support a platform and from which a person or object could fall more than four metres from the platform or the structure’.
This means that where the deck height of the scaffold is more than four metres from ground or the surface below, a licensed scaffolder must be used.
In some situations the exact height may not be clear – for example, if a scaffold is built near deep excavations or near other objects that appear as though they would break a person’s fall. The regulation and codes of practice do not specifically explain how to deal with such situations. These instances should be considered and dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If you are unsure, it may be safest to take the conservative approach and use a licensed scaffolder.
Where a scaffold is required to be built by a licensed scaffolder the scaffold and its supporting structure must be inspected by a licensed scaffolder:
Any alterations to the scaffold must only be carried out by a licensed scaffolder.
Building scaffolding from which a person or object could fall four metres or less does not require a licence. However, it is the responsibility of the person in charge to make sure that workers carrying out scaffolding work at any height are adequately trained and competent to do so safely.
Any work carried out where a person can fall two metres or more also requires a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) to be completed before work commences.
You can check a scaffold worker’s licence validity at the NSW government’s Licence Check website.
Specific guidance on scaffolds including the safe use of trestle and plank scaffolds and scaffold checklists can be found in the Preventing Falls In Housing Construction Code of Practice.
The Pocket Guide To Construction Safety also contains scaffold checklists for use.
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