New scaffolding step height now in effect
A revised Scaffolding code of practice came into effect on 1 July 2021, but the new required step height from the scaffold stair module to the working platform was delayed.
Section 126.96.36.199 of the code now applies to any stand-alone scaffolding erected since 1 July 2022. The step height from the scaffold stair module to the working platform should be no more than 300mm if there is a change in direction between landings.
This change was made because the final step height from the scaffold stair to the working platform was typically around 500mm. Scaffold stair modules are traditionally 1.5 metres in height on scaffolds, which have two metre lift heights, leaving a 500mm final step onto the work platform.
When workers step that high onto a work platform, especially if they have to turn and bend and are carrying equipment, there is risk of a slip, trip or fall.
Using two metre high scaffold stairs, or reconfiguring the scaffold, reduces the height of the step from the scaffold stair on to the working platform.
Slips, trips and falls, and musculoskeletal injuries remain ongoing concerns in the construction industry. This change to the code of practice was recommended by an industry steering group to reduce the risks in these areas.
All the details of the 1 July 2022 change – as well as last year’s revision – can be found at Scaffolding code of practice 2021 (PDF, 1.63 MB).