Calls for stricter scaffold safety in Malaysia after collapse injures six

Photograph: Approaches to scaffolding vary widely across the world. Here a small crowd enjoys the view from scaffolding in Haikou City, Hainan Province, China (Anna Frodesiak/Wikimedia Commons)

Malaysian engineers have called for stricter safety compliance on scaffolding and temporary works after a building being constructed in the city of Petaling Jaya, next to Kuala Lumpur, suffered a partial collapse on Sunday.

The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) said the construction industry must be held to higher safety standards, and proposed mandatory training for those who responsible for scaffolding and falsework.

"It is recommended that there is a need to update and amend the relevant local Acts and regulations, guideline and code of practice," the institution’s president Ir. Tan Yean Chin said, reports Malay Mail Online.

"Beside more stringent enforcement, it is also important to have mandatory requirement for sufficient training for supervisory personnel and erection teams," he added.

On Sunday (15 May) six foreign construction workers were hurt after the temporary structure at the fourth floor of the building they were working on at Jalan Barat, Petaling Jaya collapsed.

Tan also said that all temporary structures that are built should be properly designed, endorsed and supervised by professional engineers to ensure it matches accredited standards for construction practices.

He said the main causes of collapse of temporary structures are lack of safety considerations at the design stage, improper or bad construction practice, usage of inferior materials, lack of enforcement and lack of maintenance.

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  1. As a Past President of the Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA), based in the United States of America, I wholeheartedly agree that more training and education must be given on safety for anyone working at height.
    The main focus of the SAIA is to promote safety in all areas of the scaffold and access industry by developing educational and informational material; conducting educational seminars and training courses; providing audio-visual programs and codes of safe practices and other training and safety aids. Please contact the SAIA through its website – – for more detailed information on how the Association can help our scaffolding colleagues in Malaysia.

  2. Basic fundamentals of falsework are:
    1. A falsework structure is a pin jointed frame and must be analysed as such
    2. Diagonal node to node bracing is essential to prevent nodal displacement and buckling and to direct horizontal forces towards to fixed point, usually the ground
    3. The length of the cantilever to be kept to <800mm. That means the dimension from the last braced level of horizontals to the underside of the forkhead.
    4. Eccentric loads to centred .
    That's it. If the basics are followed collapsed will not occur.

  3. As a Past President of the Scaffold and Access Industry Association (SAIA), based in the United States of America ?………you might want to ask yourselves why so many accidents occur in the US every week before you start to offer ” help ” ……the US is about 30yrs behind on pretty much every level of OHS known .

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