End of Hazard 2020 confirms significant problems with scaffolding but improvements in mobile plant safety

15 November 2021

The 12-month campaign launched in October 2020 examined the two most frequent areas of hazard management non-compliance over the previous three years – mobile plant and scaffolding. The aim of Hazard 2020 was to better understand the causes of mobile plant and scaffolding audit non-compliance and incident occurrence and to drive improved safety performance in these areas.

After over 300 Hazard 2020 onsite safety audits, Federal Safety Commissioner David Denney said, “I’m encouraged to see improved compliance with the Work Health and Safety Scheme’s mobile plant requirements. Most pleasing is that the largest improvements have been in the areas of worst compliance over the last three years.” Commissioner Denney congratulated Scheme accredited companies on this result while noting the need for continued vigilance when working with mobile plant. “Almost 38 per cent of companies audited during Hazard 2020 failed to ensure safe systems of work for mobile plant. Given the very high severity of safety incidents associated with mobile plant identified during the campaign, it’s important accredited companies devote their energy to ensuring systems of work eliminate hazards wherever possible.”

In contrast, Hazard 2020 has identified worsening compliance with Scheme requirements for scaffolding safety. This is led by a significant decrease in the number of companies ensuring that scaffolding is installed by a competent person and verified as correctly installed prior to use. Commissioner Denney said, “The fact that only half of companies audited during Hazard 2020 met safety requirements for the installation of scaffolding or the changing of its design is deeply worrying. This level of compliance is simply not good enough, and my Office will be expecting better of accredited companies in future.”

Commissioner Denney said that the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner is reviewing the Hazard 2020 campaign results in detail and expects to announce new measures to improve scaffolding safety soon.

Initial data for these highest occurring non-compliances and analysis on mobile plant and scaffolding incidents is available now in the Hazard 2020 – Mobile Plant and Scaffolding audit and Incident data analysis.

The OFSC will be publishing a comprehensive final report on the campaign early next year.