Safety alert 05/2009 - Scaffold mesh panel failure

This publication is for: 
Employee / workerEmployer

A self employed plasterer sustained serious head and back injuries after he fell approximately 4.2 metres from a framed scaffold at a two storey residential construction site.

The erected scaffold had mesh panel type edge protection along the working platform. These mesh panels were attached to the guardrail posts of the scaffold by way of butt welded locating tags.

At the time of the accident the plasterer was leaning against the mesh panel when one of the locating tags snapped at the weld, creating an open edge.

Factors to consider

  • The age and condition of locating tag attachments on mesh panels 
  • Rust around weld areas to scaffold components
  • Cracking to weld areas of scaffold components
  • Maintenance of scaffold components
  • Site conditions such as corrosive locations (proximity to the coast).


  • Incorporation of a quality control system for the delivery, return and maintenance of scaffolding.
  • Record keeping of all tests, maintenance, inspections, commissioning and alterations to scaffold components.
  • Inspection of scaffold from which a person or object could fall more than 4 metres is inspected by a competent person at least every 30 days.
  • Ensure that scaffold equipment for use at a workplace complies with the relevant requirements of AS/NZS 1576 Parts 1-6.
  • Conduct a risk assessment prior to using erected scaffolding.

Further information

  • Australian/New Zealand AS/NZS 1576  Parts 1-6  - Scaffolding
  • Australian/New Zealand AS/NZS 4576:1995 – Guidelines for Scaffolding 
  • WorkSafe’s internet website or by contacting customer service on 1300 307 877 or email

This Alert contains safety information following inquires made by WorkSafe about an incident or unsafe practice. The information contained in this Alert does not necessarily include the outcome of WorkSafe’s action with respect to an incident.  WorkSafe does not warrant the information in this Alert is complete or up to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report or as to its use.

Last updated 29 Jun 2017

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