Scaffolding and Powerlines can be a Dangerous Combination
A Working At Heights Course Can Prevent Serious Injury
A Melbourne Plumbing company pleaded guilty to one charge containing two contraventions of section 21(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In that they failed to provide a workplace that was safe and without risks to health. The of Scaffolding and Powerlines can be deadly.
The court heard the 23-year-old apprentice was working alone, installing fascia and guttering from the top level of scaffolding at a residential housing site at Coburg. That in its self is not safe work practice.
The apprentice received substantial burns to his left shoulder, arm and leg when guttering he was carrying made contact with 22kv powerlines. He received hospital treatment for three months and is still recovering from his injuries.
The scaffolding had been erected just 1.84 metres from overhead powerlines, which was within the minimum safe clearance distance or ‘no go zone’.
Melbourne Plumbing company failed to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement required for high risk construction work. There was also no permit for working in a ‘no go zone’ on scaffolding close to the high voltage powerlines. The apprentice had not received any Working at Heights Training.
The Melbourne Scaffolding business was also convicted and fined $100,000. It was ordered to pay $3503.45 in costs following the same incident. They failed as a duty holder with management or control of a workplace to ensure that workplace was without risks to health and safety. Again no permit had been obtained to erect the scaffolding within the ‘no go zone’. They also failed to ensure that the distance between scaffolding and powerlines was adequate.
WorkSafe said ignoring the risks of scaffolding near overhead powerlines showed blatant disregard for safe work practices.
A young worker was severely injured because no one took the time to ensure scaffolding erected within the minimum safe distance of powerlines had the correct safeguards.
Scaffolding failures can have catastrophic consequences, and in this case, the young worker is lucky to be alive.
Every employer in Victoria must provide a safe workplace. Young workers who may be working in close proximity to overhead powerlines need the right training.
5 Tips for Maintaining Safe Distances between Scaffolding and Powerlines:
- Complying with ‘no go zone’ requirements where scaffolding is erected, dismantled or in use near overheard powerlines.
- Compliance with ‘Permit to Work’ requirements issued by the power distribution company.
- Ensuring engineering approval is obtained where shade-mesh or hoarding is affixed to scaffolding.
- Supplying design drawings for complex scaffolding.
- Ensuring employees have been provided with any necessary information, instruction or training for the safe use of scaffolds.
Call COVE Training on (03) 8773 9000 to learn more about A Working at Heights Course and on-demand course delivery options. (RTO) No. 21386