Health and Safety

Taking care with materials, equipment and work procedures and dealing with hazards.


Scaffolding is often a practical option for working at a height as it provides a permanent (for the duration of the project), secure and stable working surface. The most commonly used scaffolding systems are free-standing or suspended.

Free-standing scaffolds

Free-standing scaffolds must:

  • be erected level and plumb
  • be on solid footings or supports
  • be braced
  • be tied to the structure if possible
  • have guardrails and toe boards
  • have the planks or decks secured to the scaffold structure.

Suspended scaffolds

Suspended scaffolds must:

  • be securely supported and anchored
  • be easily accessible 600 mm above or below the working level
  • have guardrails to prevent a fall
  • be able to carry the required loads.

Workers on suspended scaffolding must wear a safety harness that is secured to a fixed support or preferably an independent lifeline.

Notification and supervision

All suspended scaffolds and all free-standing scaffolds where a person or object could fall more than 5 metres should be erected, altered and dismantled by (or directly supervised by) someone with a Certificate of Competency for this. The erection must be notified to WorkSafe. You can find a notification form on the WorkSafe site here.

Productivity gains

BRANZ commissioned NZIER to assess the benefits and costs of using scaffolding on single-storey new build houses. The research found that the cost of scaffolding is partially offset by productivity benefits.


Updated: 03 February 2020