If you are in the process of building or using a kwikstage scaffolding, it is very important that you adhere to the legal requirements prescribed by SafeWork Australia. While SafeWork Australia (SWA) are not responsible for the enforcement or regulation of workplace health and safety laws, they do list guidelines that individuals need to follow. Why is it so important that you follow the rules? Well, 43 Australians died in the first three months of 2020 due to work-related accidents and work-related injuries cost the Australian economy almost $62 billion every year. So, if you intend to use or construct a kwikstage scaffolding in Sydney, here are the most important laws you need to be aware of.
Use by a “competent person”
One of the central laws underpinning the use of a kwikstage scaffolding in Sydney is that all tasks relating to the use of the building platform must be carried out by a “competent person.” In line with Australian prescriptions, a competent person is characterised as someone who is ‘suitably qualified, adequately trained and appropriately experienced.’ Basically, this means that not anyone can just hop on a kwikstage scaffolding in Sydney and legally use it.
In fact, some professions require the employee to have a degree in Structural Engineering or some associated experience in using building towers. This might include a Certificate, which you can enroll in and complete at TAFE NSW.
Management and maintenance
As outlined by SafeWork Australia and SafeWork NSW, your building platform must be inspected at several key intervals. These intervals are as follows:
- Before using for the first time
- Prior to using after alterations have been made to the structure
- After an event that may have disrupted its structural integrity (wind, storm etc.)
- At regular intervals that do not exceed more than 30 days
According to SafeWork NSW, an appropriate license is required to use a kwikstage scaffolding in Sydney that is more than 4 metres in height. Unlicensed workers and supervisors can and will be issued with fines on the spot, which can be as severe as $3 600. Individuals can be fined up to $720 per infringement. Some employees and supervisors could even have their licenses suspended, depending on the severity of the charge.
Working near overheard power lines
Using a kwikstage scaffolding in Sydney near overhead power lines comes with its own set of challenges and rules. In line with SafeWork NSW, it is very important that you follow these regulatory requirements because there are many dangers attached to working near power lines. Contact with electricity can cause serious burns, fire and death. You don’t even have to be in direct contact to receive a fatal shock. In terms of risk management, supervisors are legally required to identify any risks or hazards and implement any measures that will either eliminate or control the hazard. Such measures could be in the form of signage, personal protective equipment (PPE), like insulation gloves and helmets.
Safe distance requirements
Assessing the required safe distance depends on several factors. Indeed, an “ordinary person” cannot use a kwikstage scaffolding in Sydney if the building platform is within a 3-metre approach distance of A.C voltage of up to 132 000 volts. Between 132 000 and 330 000, it is 6 metres, while above 330 000 volts requires ordinary persons to be at least 8 metres away from the electricity source.
For “accredited personnel”, it is 1.8 metres up to 132 000 volts and 2.4 metres between 132 000 and 220 000 volts. Over 500 000 volts requires all accredited personnel on the worksite to be at least 4.6 metres away from the power lines.