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The use of zip ties on scaffloding

Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Construction sites around Queensland are increasingly using plastic zip ties on scaffolding. This is a marked change from the traditional use of zip ties in non-structural applications where they are not exposed to direct loading such as attaching shade cloth on the inside of steel mesh that is used as a falling objects risk control measure.

While zip ties are often load rated, the load rating is for tensile (pulling) loads and not for shearing (cutting) loads.

Workers may be unaware of the risks involved with their use and may not know that they are being used in place of products specifically designed for that application. One such example is attaching toe boards to scaffolding. If a zip tie is used, the toe board could dislodge under loading. 

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is working with the scaffolding industry to produce written guidance on the use of zip ties. A draft has been reviewed by the Scaffolding Association of Queensland, the Housing Industry Association and Master Builders Queensland, with a final version planned to be published to worksafe.qld.gov.au by the end of April.

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