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Scaffolders erect, alter and dismantle temporary scaffolding structures that provide work platforms and stairway access to building sites.

Tasks and tools used

  • checking plans and drawings
  • selecting scaffolding components
  • assembling prefabricated scaffold components to construct scaffold pieces from ground up, level by level
  • scaffold components handled include base plates, base jacks, couplings, braces, brackets, ties, bars, various lengths and gauges of steel tubing, ledgers, transoms and steel boards which are used to create platforms, aluminium stairs, and ladders
  • various components handled are usually between 7-16kg and are lifted from floor to above shoulder height when constructing the scaffold
  • aluminium flights of stairs can weigh up to 33kg while the stillage for materials weigh up to 35kg when empty requiring 2 people to manage
  • materials are typically collected from ground level and are then lifted and carried up flights of stairs as they are erected.  Alternatively they can be passed up between workers to the level of scaffold where required
  • the dismantling process is the reverse of the building and assembly stage
  • various hand tools used may be hammers to hit locking pins into place, sockets, rachets, levels
  • climbing of the scaffold structure is also required during assembly and disassembly.

Personal protective equipment

  • gloves
  • hard hat
  • visability vest
  • mask as required
  • trousers
  • safety boots
  • ear muffs/plugs
  • safety glasses
  • sunscreen.
Critical job demand descriptor% of time the task is performedTask


  • standing
  • gripping of objects

34% - 66%

  • lifting of objects weighing up to 16kg between floor level and overhead

5% - 33%

  • carrying of objects weighing up to 16kg
  • kneeling and crouching positions
  • climbing of stairs
  • climbing of ladders
  • climbing of scaffold

Suitable duties

  • goals must be clear, realistic and achievable
  • must have 'buy-in' from the worker
  • worker helps to set the goals, and must be answerable if goals are not met (this allows barriers to RTW to be identified at an early stage and obstacles overcome)
  • workers need to understand they have an obligation to participate in rehabilitation and RTW as per Section 232 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act).

Scaffolder return to work suggestions

Worker can begin with light duties and include more tasks as their capacity for work changes. We'll work with all parties, including the treating medical provider, employer and worker to ensure everyone is aware of where the worker is with their rehabilitation and stay at, or return to work.

Note: some tasks are dependent on worker's injury and capacity, and some tasks may require the assistance of a co-worker.

Host employment

In the event an employer is unable to provide suitable duties, a host placement may be required. If this is the case, the worker may be placed at a different employer in a graduated return to work plan until they're able to 'upgrade' back to his/her pre-injury role with their pre-injury employer.

WorkCover Queensland's Recover at work program places injured workers in short term host employment with employers who have an established track record of successful return to work outcomes with their own workers.

More return to work resources