Worksafe Inspector Glen Spaulding says the correct storage of laminated timber scaffold planks can extend their life, and reduce the chance of failure at height.
Scaffold planks must be in good condition, inspected before use, and tested regularly to ensure ongoing integrity, in order to assure the safety of workers.
Moisture is a big factor in the deterioration of the planks. If laminated planks are exposed to the weather during use, and then placed into storage while wet, they can suffer fungal decay, a loss in strength and possible delamination if they are not stored correctly.
To prevent these problems, wet laminated planks should be stored by stacking them on level bearers well clear of the ground, with spacers between each layer of planks.
The stack should be located in a dry, well-ventilated location and the spacers should be aligned with the bearers beneath. A minimum of three bearers and spacers should be provided per layer.
Dry laminated planks which are stored outside are always at risk of getting wet, so they should be stacked similarly to wet planks in order to allow for ventilation between planks.
Dry laminated planks which are stored indoors do not require special consideration.
Any laminated plank which is suspected of having fungal decay, or displays mould on the surface should be tested prior to use.
Rejected planks need to be properly tagged and quarantined so they are not mixed up with serviceable planks.