SafeWork SA is reminding businesses who commission or install void scaffolds to ensure the scaffold meets the minimum specifications as set out in Australian Standard 1576.1.

On 18 September 2020, two workers at a residential construction site fell 3.6 metres to the ground when the stairwell void scaffold they were standing on collapsed. Both of the workers suffered injuries, including a broken hip.

Preliminary investigations suggests:

  • a catastrophic failure of the void scaffold support bracket due to a existing fault
  • incorrect fasteners in place to prevent accidental dislodgement of the support brackets
  • the void scaffold components were imported and not manufactured to meet the minimum scaffold standards
  • the void scaffold was poorly designed and installed.
Photo showing stairwell void scaffold on adjoining structure
Stairwell void scaffold on adjoining structure
Photo showing collapsed platforms
Collapsed platforms
Photo showing failed support brackets
Failed support brackets

A primary objective of scaffold planning and design is to prevent scaffold collapse before, during and after placement of the scaffold. The collapse of a scaffold can cause death or significant injury to workers.

Further information

New information on Stairwells, atriums and voids is available to understand the risks and how to manage them.