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Guarding on a mast climbing work platform.

Issued: 20 May 2010
Last Updated: 19 May 2010


The purpose of this safety alert is to advise installers, owners and operators of mast climbing work platforms (MCWP) of:

  • the risks associated with erecting and dismantling MCWPs and
  • how to best manage such risks through effective control measures.

Note: The principles in this safety alert also apply to personnel and material hoists.

Photo 1: A (single) mast climbing work platform.


A worker suffered serious injuries to his arm while dismantling a MCWP. The worker's arm was caught between the moving platform and the mast. In normal operation mode, guards should always be fitted around the mast (see photograph 2). This is to prevent potential shearing or entrapment hazards that can occur as a result of the platform structure moving over the fixed mast.

Photo 2: Shows fixed guards around the mast climbing work platform.

At the time of the incident, the guards had been temporarily removed in order to provide access to undo a series of bolts to dismantle the mast (see photograph 3).

Note: The operator was complying with the manufacturer's instructions, which allowed the guards to be removed during the erection and dismantling process.

Photo 3: Close up view of the bolts and nuts connecting the mast sections.

Ways to minimise the risk of injury

The following systems/procedures need to be followed when operating a MCWP:

  • The guards around the platform (see photographs 2 and 3) should comply with Australian Standards AS 4024.1-2006 - Safety of machinery.
  • The guards are to be in place during normal operations of the mast climber to ensure that no one can access (e.g. climb over or reach above) the areas where shearing or entrapment can occur between the moving and stationary parts.
  • Safe operating procedures are to be in place and followed at all times.
  • The MCWP operators should be provided with operating instructions and be properly trained.

Where the MCWP has multiple masts, the drive speeds of all motors are to be synchronised to ensure the platform remains level. Installers and dismantlers of MCWP must hold at least a high risk work licence for basic rigging or intermediate scaffolding.

If the guards are removed to access the bolts and nuts during erection and dismantling of mast sections, the following precautions should be followed to ensure the mast climber will not move inadvertently:

  • The control box on the platform level should be locked by a key. Only designated staff are then authorised to open the control box and move the platform up or down. If possible, the control box should be installed a safe distance away from the mast.
  • An effective lockout procedure should be in place to lockout the control or power supply.
  • The platform should not move until the operator can ensure that:
    • workers on the platform have a clear view of one another
    • no tools or materials are able to fall from the mast section or platform
    • workers are not located in potential hazard zones.

Routine maintenance

A competent person should be engaged to carry out regular inspections of MCWPs as recommended by the manufacturer or competent person, or at least annually. A record of service and maintenance must be kept. This may be in a log book or similar.

Legislative requirements

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 sets out the laws about health and safety requirements affecting workplaces, work activities and specified high risk plant in Queensland. It seeks to protect the health and safety of everyone at a workplace.