What’s the difference between Scaffolding Guidelines AS/NZS 4576 and Scaffolding Series AS/NZ 1576?

There’s a wealth of useful information available relating to scaffolding guidelines, swing stages, and managing risks of fall.

Common Documents and Legislation Relating to Scaffolding and Falls from Height?

  • AS/NZ 4576 is a guideline for scaffolding
  • AS/NZS 1576 (part 1 to part 6)
    • AS/NZS 1576.1:2010 Scaffolding – General Requirements
    • AS/NZS 1576.2:2009 Scaffolding – Couplers & Accessories
    • AS/NZS 1576.3:1995 Scaffolding – Prefabricated & Tube and Coupler Scaffolding
    • AS 1576.4:2013 Scaffolding – Suspended Scaffolds
    • AS/NZS 1576.5:1995 Scaffolding – Prefabricated Split-heads & Trestles
    • AS/NZS 1576.6:2000 Scaffolding – Metal Tube and Coupler Scaffolding – Deemed to comply with AS/NZS 1576.3
  • AS 1577 relates to scaffold decking component
  • Work Health and Safety (Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces) Code of Practice 2015
  • Safe Work Australia – Guide to Scaffolds and Scaffolding


What is Safe Work Australia’s Guide to Scaffolds and Scaffolding?

Safe Work Australia’s Guide to Scaffolds and Scaffolding is a guide that provide information on specific types of scaffolds and scaffolding, and includes practical examples of ways to control some of the risks associated with them

It forms part of a series of scaffolding guides and material and be read and used together with the General guide for scaffolds and scaffolding work which includes information on risk

management as well as advice on planning, erecting, altering, dismantling and working with

scaffolds and the following material:

  • Guide to suspended (swing stage) scaffolds
  • Guide to scaffold Inspection and maintenance, and
  • Information Sheet: Tower and mobile scaffolds.

Further information for scaffolding work near overhead electric lines is also available in the Information Sheet: Scaffolding work near overhead electric lines.

In addition to the risk control measures listed in this Guide, the ‘Scaffold Inspection Checklist’ included in the Guide to scaffold inspection and maintenance may also be adapted to suit the needs of your business and the particular scaffolds in use.





Managing The Risk of Falls - Work Health and Safety (Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces) Code of Practice 2015

(source - Legislation.gov.au)

Work Health and Safety (Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces) Code of Practice 2015 contains effective and useful information.  Managing the risk of falls can be found in section 2 and states…

2.1       How to identify fall hazards

You must identify all locations and tasks that could cause injury due to a fall. This includes access to the areas where work is to be carried out. Tasks that need particular attention are those carried out:


  • on any structure or plant being constructed or installed, demolished or dismantled, inspected, tested, repaired or cleaned
  • on a fragile surface (for example, cement sheeting roofs, rusty metal roofs, fibreglass sheeting roofs and skylights)
  • on a potentially unstable surface (for example, areas where there is potential for ground collapse)
  • using equipment to work at the elevated level (for example, when using elevating work platforms or portable ladders)
  • on a sloping or slippery surface where it is difficult for people to maintain their balance (for example, on glazed tiles)
  • near an unprotected open edge (for example, near incomplete stairwells)
  • near a hole, shaft or pit into which a worker could fall (for example, trenches, lift shafts or service pits).


Inspect the workplace

Walk around the workplace and talk to your workers to find out where work is carried out that could result in falls. A checklist may be useful in this process. Key things to look for include:


  • surfaces:
    • the stability, fragility or brittleness
    • the potential to slip, for example where surfaces are wet, polished or glazed
    • the safe movement of workers where surfaces change
    • the strength or capability to support loads
    • the slope of work surfaces, for example, where they exceed 7 degrees.
  • levels—where levels change and workers may be exposed to a fall from one level to another
  • structures—the stability of temporary or permanent structures
  • the ground—the evenness and stability of the ground for safe support of scaffolding or a work platform
  • the working area—whether it is crowded or cluttered
  • entry and exit from the working area
  • edges—protection for open edges of floors, working platforms, walkways, walls or roofs
  • holes, openings or excavations—which will require guarding
  • hand grip—places where hand grip may be lost.


In some situations, advice may be needed from technical specialists, such as structural engineers, to check the stability of structures or load bearing capacity.


Review available information, including incident records

You should check your records of previous injuries and ‘near miss’ incidents related to falls.


Information and advice about fall hazards and risks relevant to particular industries and work activities is also available from regulators, industry associations, unions, technical specialists

and safety consultants.