Survey | Prevention & Management of Musculoskeletal Problems (MSDs) in the Scaffolding-Industry Survey

Scaffolding Industry constructs Task Force to tackle MSDs 

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) e.g. sprains and strains make up a staggering 70% of ACC claims each year in the scaffolding industry. In direct response, the industry has formed New Zealand’s first Scaffolding MSD TaskForce. Spearheaded by SARNZ Board members Jessica Pritchard and David Sopp, the task force also includes Chris Polaczuk from CHASNZ, a WorkSafe representative, workplace management and worker representatives from the scaffolding industry and Vadim Spice expert industry trainer.

The group is keen to develop an industry-wide programme that can be shared with other sectors of the construction industry. This recognises a shared workforce, shared worksites and similar contributory factors to these problems. The task force’s mission statement is: To improve the musculoskeletal wellbeing and productivity of the construction/scaffolding workforce through industry collaboration, establishing best practice and using innovation. 

After the task force sets its aims and objectives one of the first things the industry will look at is the current advice for new building techniques and handling new scaffolding systems that now dominate the Industry. Vadim Spice, Group SafetyGroup & Training Manager, New Zealand Scaffold Group adds ‘’The changing of equipment has dominated our industry without letting us develop our work organisation strategies and handling techniques. The traditional methods and systems don’t really apply anymore. This is a key issue and contributes to the frequency and severity of incidents."

Scaffolding is one of the more physically demanding trades of the construction industry but the Task Force realises it needs to also focus on less understood contributory factors such as how we organise our work our workplace relationships and communication - what we call the psychosocial factors.

The Task Force welcomes all input from the industry and would like to hear ideas and suggestions to improve the prevention and management of MSDs.

“If you are out there in the scaffolding world and doing something to prevent and manage discomfort, pain or injury in your workforce or just want to be involved or informed then we would love to hear from you,” says JessicaPrichard, Board Member, SARNZ.

Contact the Task Force by emailing




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