Rules keep scaffolders busy

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 08:01 04/04/2014
Jake Cresswell
Scott Hammond

Safer work: Scaffold Marlborough’s site foreman and scaffolder Jake Cresswell is busy assembling and disassembling scaffolding in the region

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Marlborough scaffolding companies have been busy since the crackdown on scaffolding regulations in 2012.

The Labour Department had warned the industry that from July 2012 it would more strictly enforce regulations about safety equipment which should be used when working above ground.

Scaffold Marlborough owner Lyndon Robinson said he had expanded his business as a result of the increased demand for scaffolding on work sites.

"We've got more trucks, more gear and more staff. We are extremely busy at the moment."

Not all of the building companies were complying though, he said.

"Some people are pretty anti it. It's the good ones embracing it."

From his understanding of the legislation, if someone falls from height, everyone involved is affected, with either an infringement, a fine or both, Robinson said.

"The actual person that hurts themselves can get done, the owner of the company can get done and the house owner can get done."

The regulations for scaffolding at any height had been in place for more than a decade, but were just being more strictly enforced, he said.

Nayland Scaffold and Crane is based in Nelson but also works in Marlborough and Canterbury.

Scaffold manager Jonny Benbow said they had to purchase more scaffolding to keep up with the demand, in part due to the stricter rules but also because of work in the Christchurch rebuild.

"We are definitely busier . . . we are backed up weeks in advance now - up to six weeks."

He wants to employ more qualified scaffolders, but said it was hard to find them so he was investing in training. Meanwhile, some Marlborough building companies have purchased their own scaffolding materials, while others are spending money on hiring scaffolding companies to meet the regulations.

Stonewood Homes Blenheim director David Campbell said it was a big cost to the clients.

"We are spending on health and safety, particularly with scaffolding and nets.

He was interested in seeing figures from ACC to see if there had been a change in the number of falls, Campbell said.

The Express asked Accident Compensation Corporation for statistics regarding injuries related to falls from height in Marlborough.

They said they did not have a specific classification, but were able to supply statistics on work claims which mentioned scaffolding in the accident description.

There were ..

12 in 2008 at a cost of $80,236;

22 in 2009 at a cost of $6526;

15 in 2010 at a cost of $6100;

9 in 2011 at a cost of $19,277;

12 in 2012 at a cost of $45,212;

12 in 2013 at a cost of $38,300.

Worksafe New Zealand was unable to supply statistics on the number of falls from height in the Marlborough region, before the Express went to print.

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- The Marlborough Express

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