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Scaffolding, Access & Rigging New Zealand Inc. (SARNZ)

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Good Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding 2016

The Good Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding 2016 were released by WorkSafe NZ on 1st December 2016 and replace the Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding 2009.

WorkSafe NZ have informed SARNZ that the Good Practice Guidelines (GPG) are a statement of what is currently seen as acceptable practice and as such there will be no transition period.

Click here to download a pdf of the GPG.

Printed versions are available from SARNZ on payment of $11.50 (Including GST) for postage and handling.

The main changes in the new document:

  • Best Practice Guideline has become Good Practice Guideline and is now a WorkSafe document rather than a SARNZ document endorsed by WorkSafe.
  • References to legislation have changed from Health and Safety in Employment Act 1995 to Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and the General Risk and Workplace Management Regulations 2016 along with the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 which remain in force.
  • Reference is made to PCBUs, workers and officers. These all have responsibilities under the new Act.
  • References to identifying and managing risks. Taking all reasonably practicable steps means to eliminate or minimise these risks.
  • PPE section sets out requirements for minimum PPE; safety helmet with chin strap, hi-vis vest or garment, safety footwear and harness all to be used at all times.
  • Scaffolds under 5m high, measured to the highest component (Non-notifiable). Requirement for erection, dismantle, alteration, inspection by competent person. These scaffolds must be fitted with a tag or similar and inspected regularly.
  • New section on Site Management. Refers to Safe Systems of Work incorporating planning, risk assessment and monitoring, management of common risks.
  • Scaffold Design Section. Sets out advice on when a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) should be used.
  • New section for suppliers and importers of scaffold equipment.
  • Advice that timber scaffold planks should not span more than 1.4m in line with tube and coupler butt plank scaffolds.
  • Stair and ladder access should be installed in a separate external bay where practicable and openings should be protected by a tortured path
  • Existing fact sheet on sheeted scaffolds and temporary roofs has been included in GPG. Includes advice on when a CPEng should be used
  • Roof edge protection. When scaffold is used to provide REP it should not be a single pole scaffold. When used for REP the top working platform should be within 1m below roof edge for pitches equal or below 25 degrees, as close as practicable below for pitches steeper than 25 degrees. Working platforms used as part of edge protection should be rated at least medium duty to withstand possible impact loads.
  • Suspended scaffold section. All hoists must be fitted with secondary rope and protection device. Calculation for counterweights is now based on the setting of the load limiting device on the hoist rather than the weight of the stage and imposed load. Operator must be a competent person and can carry out daily checks after appropriate training / induction.
  • New section covering trusses and beams.

Please note that this summary is a guide only.  Scaffolders and others responsible for scaffolding operations should familiarise themselves with the GPG.

Correct use of scaffold trusses

Trusses are commonly used in the NZ scaffold industry to form bridges on independent scaffolds and to create temporary roof structures. Trusses must be used in accordance with the manufacturers information or in accordance with a design by a Chartered Professional Engineer(CPEng).  Click here for guidance on how to use trusses in bridging and temporary roofs.


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