SafeWork continues its investigation of Macquarie Park scaffolding site

SafeWork NSW is continuing to investigate what led to the scaffolding collapse in Macquarie Park on Monday 1 April 2019 where one person tragically died and another was critically injured. The site is expected to be closed until SafeWork is satisfied that it is safe and all evidence has been collected.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW Tony Williams said: “The outcomes of this investigation are expected to take some time to gather meaningful and constructive results. SafeWork will examine a range of factors including the qualifications of relevant workers, environmental conditions, the load carried by the scaffolding, as well as the design, construction and maintenance of scaffolding.”

SafeWork is working with NSW Police, who are running a separate investigation. SafeWork is also preparing a report for the Coroner.

A Prohibition notice has been issued to the construction company, preventing access to work on the ground floor and basement levels of the site.

Notices have also been issued to the construction company to ensure the safe release of an inactive crane’s load on site. Engineers are assessing whether the structural integrity of the crane, as well as the electrical supply to it, have not been affected by the collapse of the scaffolding. This is required before the crane can be reenergised to release its load. The crane is expected to be repositioned on Friday, 5 April.

SafeWork NSW is currently running Operation Scaf Safe which commenced on Monday 1 April 2019.  It is one focus of SafeWork’s Towards Zero Falls From Heights Campaign which will run until 2022. SafeWork Inspectors are visiting sites across NSW to ensure that businesses understand the safety requirements involved in creating a safe environment for workers using scaffolding and working from a height.

The decision to focus efforts on scaffold safety was in part the result of a compliance blitz conducted throughout 2018, where almost 50 per cent of scaffolding inspections were found to be non-compliant. 1,258 notices were issued, including 93 risk-of-falls related, on-the-spot fines, totalling $265,680.

Operation Scaf Safe is expected to run until September 2019. Penalties of up to $3600 may apply for exposing workers to risk of falls, or for carrying out scaffold work without a licence.