• Published: 24 Jan 2023

Scaffold board snapped under scaffolder

Snapped board
Snapped board

Contributing Factor

  • Control of work

Description of Process

Dismantling of scaffolding.

Description of Incident

A team of Scaffolders were tasked with the dismantling of a 4 week old scaffold structure.

During the dismantling process, Scaffolder 1 (IP) climbed up onto the Process Gantry to access the platform erected above a pipe rack. As the IP took out the last handrail of the platform, he passed the tube to Scaffolder 2 over onto the Gantry.

The IP then moved back on the platform, stepping onto one of the scaffold boards. At this moment, the scaffold board snapped in half. Both ends of the board stopped on a pipe that was directly underneath, so that the IP’s leg did not fall through. However, as a result of the impact, the IP hurt his knee. This caused the IP to be unable to perform his duties and resulted in days away from work.


  • The scaffold board was contaminated with green algae, which is an indicator of the poor quality of the board; it was also much lighter than a standard board.
  • The scaffold involved in the incident was erected 4 weeks before dismantling took place, all boards and fittings were checked prior to the installation. The green algae was identified, however, because it was seen mainly as a factor that increases the potential for a slip, the board was only turned to the side that was less green and included in the erection. The same team that were dismantling it, assembled it.
  • Scaffolding Procedure and quality documents were not adhered to when completing a pre-use check of the boards used for erection of the scaffold.
  • The scaffold was subject to weekly inspections, during which no defects were detected.

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