Scaffolds are a common way to provide a safe work platform. There are a wide variety of scaffolding systems available.

All scaffolds should comply with the Scaffolding, Access & Rigging New Zealand (SARNZ) Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand or equivalent guidelines or a higher standard.

All scaffolds should be erected, altered and dismantled by persons who have been trained and have suitable experience with the type of scaffolding being used.

All scaffolds from which a person or object could fall more than five metres, as well as all suspended scaffolds, should be erected, altered and dismantled by or under the direct supervision of a person with an appropriate Certificate of Competency. This work must be notified to the Department of Labour as particularly hazardous work. A scaffold register should be kept on site as a record of regular inspection.


All scaffolds shall be supplied with adequate information for the scaffold user, such as a scaffold tag or handover certificate. The information supplied shall include:

  • its intended use
  • safe working load
  • dates of inspections (as applicable—the scaffold provider can advise the
  • frequency of these dates)
  • manufacturer’s instructions for assembly
  • any special conditions and limitations


If a scaffold has been altered, modified, tampered with and/or appears to be unsafe, the scaffold shall not be used until it has been checked and certified as safe by a competent person as outlined in the SARNZ Best Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding in New Zealand.


Where work is performed using mobile scaffolds, employers should ensure that workers understand that the scaffold should:

  • be erected by a competent person and used in accordance to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • remain level and plumb at all times
  • be kept at least one metre from open floor edges and openings unless the edge is protected to prevent the scaffold tipping
  • never be accessed until all the castors are locked to prevent movement
  • never be moved while anyone is on it
  • be clear from overhead powerlines


Scaffolds must have:

  • the height to the top-most platform not greater than three times the minimum base dimension
  • safe access
  • stable foundations
  • stable and safe work platforms and enough room to work.


Where a scaffold is used as a means of protecting people working on a roof, it is preferred that the scaffold is set up in a manner that prevents a fall from occurring, regardless of the distance of the fall.