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Draft 2017 Code of Practice for Access and Working Scaffolds

The Health and Safety Authority requests comments and observations on the proposals for the 2017 Code of Practice for Access and Working Scaffolds prior to publication.

The purpose of the 2017 Code of Practice for Access and Working Scaffolds is to provide practical guidance to scaffold erectors, contractors and users of scaffolding on the requirements and prohibitions set out in the relevant statutory provisions. This update was undertaken to ensure that the Code reflects current legislation and best practices with regard to scaffolding. It will replace the Code of Practice for Access and Working Scaffolds issued by the Authority in 2008.

The Authority is seeking consultation and feedback on the revised Code, particularly the following areas:

  • the requirement that all scaffolding requires a design (allowing for proprietary system scaffolding manufacturer’s designs to be used for standard configurations and other standard designs, such as TG20, to be used as appropriate).
  • the increased emphasis on the requirement to identify if a bespoke design scaffold is necessary at the earliest possible stage of a project and for the Project Supervisor Design Process to co-ordinate this temporary works design with the permanent works designer.
  • further requirements for prioritising collective protection measures for scaffolders while erecting, modifying and dismantling scaffolding. The use of leading guard rails and scaffold step systems is introduced and the removal of the previous allowance for scaffolders to work off partially boarded decks.
  • the removal of allowance for a non-scaffolder to remove handrails under certain circumstances such as when loading materials, and the emphasis on providing appropriate gate systems at loading bays that maintain edge protection to workers during loading operations.
  • the requirement that stairway access should be provided where it is reasonably practicable to do so, particularly where there is a high usage rate and / or where materials or tools need to be carried frequently by hand.
  • the requirement for using flame retardant sheeting material for sheeting scaffold that will have hot works carried out in or near it, or that is erected near the public.
  • requirements to ensure all decking boards are adequately secured and emphasis on the risks of displacement of boards due to high winds.
  • requirements for the inspection of decking boards for defects and for the correct storing of timber boards when not in use.
  • clarifications around training of persons inspecting scaffolding.
  • technical updates with regards to references to current legislation and standards.

The guidance in the updated Code should help to further safeguard scaffolders from falls while erecting, modifying and dismantling scaffolds. The Code emphasises the use of collective protective measures to prevent falls wherever it is possible to do so, as a more effective method of preventing accidents. The changes around requirements for scaffolding designs will emphasise to clients, contractors and scaffolders the importance of working to the manufacturer’s design. When this is not possible, the Code calls for a bespoke scaffold design to be developed by a competent scaffolding designer. This will reduce the scope to vary from the manufacturer’s designs without a specific scaffold design being completed.

A copy of the Draft 2017 Code of Practice for Access and Working Scaffolds is available at the following link: Access and Working Scaffolds toL&G04may2017.pdf

The closing time for receiving submissions is 5.00 p.m. on Friday 23 June 2017.

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Those wishing to make submissions are advised that submissions may be made available for viewing by the Public, with the exception of information referring to the personal / home addresses of individuals making submissions, at the close of the Consultation Process and at the same time as the Authority publishes its response to the Consultation Process, in accordance with the Health and Safety Authority’s Consultation Policy, which can be read here (available at this link).. It should also be noted that the Authority is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2014 and the Data Protection Acts 1998 and 2003.