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Code of Practice


FOREWORD ................................................................................................................... 3
SCOPE AND APPLICATION .......................................................................................... 3

INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................... 4

MANAGING RISKS WITH FORMWORK AND FALSEWORK ................................. 8


Traditional and modular formwork systems .................................................................. 19

Slip forms and jump forms ........................................................................................... 20
Travelling formwork ..................................................................................................... 21

FORMWORK AND FALSEWORK ACTIVITY ........................................................ 23


Construction project and principal contractor ............................................................... 10

Safe work method statements...................................................................................... 10
Designers .................................................................................................................... 11
Formwork and falsework design .................................................................................. 14
Adjacent buildings or structures ................................................................................... 17
Falls ............................................................................................................................. 17
Securing the work area ................................................................................................ 17
Emergency plan ........................................................................................................... 18

FORMWORK AND FALSEWORK METHODS AND SYSTEMS ............................ 19


Identifying the hazards ................................................................................................... 8

Assessing the risks ........................................................................................................ 8
Controlling the risks ....................................................................................................... 8
Reviewing the risk control measures.............................................................................. 9

PLANNING FORMWORK AND FALSEWORK ACTIVITY ..................................... 10


What is formwork and falsework? .................................................................................. 4

Who has health and safety duties relating to formwork and falsework activities? ........... 5
What is involved in managing risks associated with formwork and falsework? ............... 6
Training, information, instruction and supervision .......................................................... 7

Foundations and footings............................................................................................. 23

Erection of formwork and falsework ............................................................................. 23
Constructing formwork ................................................................................................. 23
Crane and load handling .............................................................................................. 30
Inspection and monitoring ............................................................................................ 31
Stripping formwork ....................................................................................................... 32
Dismantling falsework .................................................................................................. 33

SPECIAL FORMWORK CONTROL MEASURES .................................................. 35


Wall and column forms ................................................................................................ 35

Slip, jump and travelling forms ..................................................................................... 36

APPENDIX A DEFINITIONS ...................................................................................... 41

APPENDIX B - TECHNICAL STANDARDS.................................................................. 43

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This Code of Practice for managing risks associated with formwork and falsework activity is an
approved code of practice under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act).
An approved code of practice is a practical guide to achieving the standards of health, safety
and welfare required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulations (the
WHS Regulations).
A code of practice applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in
the code. In most cases, following an approved code of practice would achieve compliance with
the health and safety duties in the WHS Act, in relation to the subject matter of the code. Like
regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and do not cover all hazards or risks
which may arise. The health and safety duties require duty holders to consider all risks
associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist.
Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings under the WHS Act and Regulations.
Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or
control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the
circumstances to which the code relates.
Compliance with the WHS Act and Regulations may be achieved by following another method,
such as a technical or an industry standard, if it provides an equivalent or higher standard of
work health and safety than the code.
An inspector may refer to an approved code of practice when issuing an improvement or
prohibition notice.
This Code of Practice has been developed by Safe Work Australia as a model code of practice
under the Council of Australian Governments Inter-Governmental Agreement for Regulatory
and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety for adoption by the Commonwealth,
state and territory governments.
A draft of this Code of Practice was released for public consultation on 2 April 2012 and was
endorsed by the Select Council on Workplace Relations on [to be completed].


This Code provides practical guidance to persons conducting a business or undertaking on how
to comply with their health and safety duties when carrying out construction work that involves
formwork and falsework activity, including high risk construction work.
This Code should be read in conjunction with the Code of Practice: Construction Work which
provides further guidance for persons conducting a business or undertaking that involves
construction work.
How to use this code of practice
In providing guidance, the word should is used in this Code to indicate a recommended course
of action, while may is used to indicate an optional course of action.
This Code also includes various references to sections of the WHS Act and to Regulations
which set out the legal requirements. These references are not exhaustive. The words must,
requires or mandatory indicate that a legal requirement exists and must be complied with.

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1.1 What is formwork and falsework?

Formwork and falsework are temporary structures that are built to support parts or the whole of
a permanent structure until it is self-supporting. Individual components of formwork and
falsework, such as scaffolding, are plant. Once assembled, the components form the temporary
structure. Some formwork and falsework systems are designed to remain with the permanent
Generally, any work undertaken to design, construct, erect, alter, maintain, dismantle or remove
formwork or falsework will be defined as construction work.
Formwork means the surface, support and framing used to define the shape of concrete until it
is self-supporting.
Formwork includes the forms on or within which the concrete is poured, the supports
which carry the forms and the concrete, the bracing which may be added to ensure
stability, as well as the foundations and footings.
When complete, the formwork is sometimes referred to as the formwork assembly.
The formwork supports, bracing, foundations and footings are sometimes known as
Falsework means any temporary structure that is used to support a permanent structure,
material, plant, equipment and personnel until the construction of the permanent structure has
advanced to the stage that it is self-supporting.
A temporary structural support system referred to as falsework includes the foundations,
footings and all structural members supporting the permanent structural elements.
Falsework is commonly used to support spanning or arched structures, such as bridges,
while they are being constructed.
The temporary support structures for formwork (see above) used to mould concrete to
form a desired shape and the scaffolding that might also give workers access to the
structure being constructed is sometimes referred to as falsework.
What is construction work?
R. 289: Construction work is defined as any work carried out in connection with the
construction, alteration, conversion, fitting-out, commissioning, renovation, repair, maintenance,
refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning or dismantling of a structure.
Construction work includes:
any installation and testing carried out in connection with an activity referred to in the
above definition
the removal from the workplace of any product or waste resulting from demolition
the prefabrication or testing of elements, at a place specifically established for the
construction work, for use in construction work
the assembly of prefabricated elements to form a structure or the disassembly of
prefabricated elements forming part of a structure
the installation, testing or maintenance of an essential service in relation to any structure
any work connected with an excavation

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any work connected with any preparatory work or site preparation (including landscaping
as part of site preparation) carried out in connection with an activity referred to in the
above definition, and
an activity referred to in the above definition that is carried out on, under or near water,
including work on buoys and obstructions to navigation.

Formwork and falsework activity may include construction work that is defined as high risk
construction work in the WHS Regulations for which a safe work method statement (SWMS)
must be prepared before the work starts.
Further guidance on what is construction work and SWMS is available in the Code of Practice:
Construction Work.
Other key terms used in this Code are defined in Appendix A.

1.2 Who has health and safety duties relating to formwork and falsework
A person conducting a business or undertaking has the primary duty under the WHS Act to
ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons at the workplace are
not exposed to health and safety risks arising from the business or undertaking.
The WHS Regulations include specific obligations for a person conducting a business or
undertaking to manage the risks associated with construction work. There are also duties to
manage the risks associated with plant.
For clarity, the person conducting a business or undertaking who carries out formwork and
falsework activities is referred to in this Code as the formwork/falsework contractor.
A principal contractor for a construction project (that is, where the cost of the construction
work is $250,000 or more) has additional duties under the WHS Regulations, including to:
take all reasonable steps to obtain from each person conducting a business or
undertaking that is to carry out high risk construction work a copy of the SWMS relating
to that work before the high risk construction work commences
prepare a written WHS management plan for the workplace before work on the
construction project commences.
Designers of structures must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the structure is
without risks to health and safety when used for a purpose for which it was designed. Designers
must give the person who commissioned the design a written safety report (see section 3.2 of
this Code). Pre-fabricated formwork requires design registration under the plant regulations.
Manufacturers, importers and suppliers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that
plant and structures they manufacture, import or supply is without risks to the health and safety.
Installers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the way the plant or structure is
installed is without risks to the health and safety of persons who install, use, decommission or
dismantle the plant or structure and others who are at or in the vicinity of the workplace.
Officers, such as company directors, have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the
business or undertaking complies with the WHS Act and Regulations. This includes taking

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reasonable steps to ensure that the business or undertaking has and uses appropriate
resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks that arise from the construction work.
Workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that they do
not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. Workers must comply with any
reasonable instruction and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health
and safety at the workplace.

1.3 What is involved in managing risks associated with formwork and

Effectively controlling health and safety risks involves following a systematic process known as
risk management, consisting of the following steps set out in this Code:
identify hazards
if necessary, assess the risks associated with the hazards
implement and maintain risk control measures, and
review the effectiveness of control measures.
The WHS Regulations contain duties to manage risks relating to specific hazards, including
hazardous manual tasks, noise, falls, confined spaces, construction work, hazardous chemicals,
asbestos and lead.
Guidance on the general risk management process is available in the Code of Practice:
How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks.
Consulting your workers
S. 47: The person conducting a business or undertaking must consult, so far as is reasonably
practicable, with workers who carry out work for you who are (or are likely to be) directly
affected by a work health and safety matter.
S. 48: If the workers are represented by a health and safety representative, the consultation
must involve that representative.
Consultation with workers and their health and safety representatives is required at every step
of the risk management process. In many cases, decisions about construction work and
projects are made prior to engaging workers, therefore, it may not be possible to consult with
workers in these early stages. However, it is important to consult with them as the
formwork/falsework progresses.
Consulting, cooperating and coordinating activities with other duty holders
S. 46: A person conducting a business or undertaking must consult, cooperate and coordinate
activities with all other persons who have a work health or safety duty in relation to the same
matter, so far as is reasonably practicable.
A construction workplace will often be shared by various persons conducting a business or
undertaking, such as civil engineers, contractors and mobile plant operators. Persons with
overlapping duties should exchange information about the risks associated with the formwork
and falsework activity including any traffic and plant movements near the formwork/falsework
area. They should work together in a cooperative and coordinated way so that all risks are
eliminated or minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.

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Further guidance on consultation is available in the Code of Practice: Work Health and Safety
Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination.

1.4 Training, information, instruction and supervision

S. 19: A person conducting a business or undertaking must provide any information, instruction,
training and supervision necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety
arising from the work carried out.
R. 39: A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that information, training
and instruction provided to a worker is suitable and adequate having regard to:
the nature of the work carried out by the worker
the nature of the risks associated with the work at the time of the information, training and
instruction, and
the control measures implemented.
The training provided must be readily understandable by any person to whom it is provided.
R. 317: A person conducting a business or undertaking must not direct or allow a worker to
carry out construction work unless the worker has successfully completed general construction
induction training.
Training specific to the formwork and falsework activity and to the site should also be provided
to workers by a competent person. A person conducting a business or undertaking must also
ensure that workers operating certain types of plant at the workplace possess a valid licence to
operate that plant (for example, cranes).
A competent person should supervise the formwork/falsework activity. Workers in a supervisory
role (for example, leading hand or foreman) should be experienced and trained in formwork and
falsework and authorised to ensure the work is carried out in accordance with SWMS.
Further information on general construction induction training and other training is available in
the Code of Practice: Construction Work.

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2.1 Identifying the hazards

Some examples of formwork and falsework hazards include:
formwork or falsework collapse (before, during and after placement of concrete or the
structural members to be supported)
people falling from height
falling objects
slips and trips
manual tasks.

2.2 Assessing the risks

When assessing risks involved with formwork and falsework you should consider things such
the type of form or falsework elements to be used
the height of the formwork and/or falsework to be erected
the size of the formwork deck or any decks included in the falsework
the location of intermediate working decks
the scheduling of the work
the layout of the workplace, including whether there are fall hazards both for people and
the number of people involved
what plant and equipment will be used and the skill and experience required to use it
what exposures might occur, such as noise or ultra-violet (UV) radiation
local weather conditions, particularly wind forces.
It should then be possible to select the most suitable work methods and arrangements to
eliminate or minimise risks, for example:
items of plant and equipment large structures may require scaffolding or mobile plant
to work on suspended floors
minimise the working heights for persons erecting and dismantling the formwork and/or
safe temporary work platforms where work at height is required
plant and material placement and storage, so as to minimise manual handling.

2.3 Controlling the risks

The ways of controlling risks are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the
lowest. This ranking is known as the hierarchy of control measures.
The duty holder must always aim to eliminate a hazard first. If this is not reasonably practicable,
the risk must be minimised by using one or more of the following:

Substitution for example, use a type of formwork that can be preassembled on the
ground and then lifted into position by a crane this reduces the need to work at height
and therefore the risk of people or objects falling. Using a crane to lift formwork or

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falsework components instead of manual lifting minimises the risk of musculoskeletal

Isolation use concrete barriers to separate pedestrians and powered mobile plant to
reduce the risk of collision.
Engineering install fall prevention devices, such as guard rails, toeboards and edge
protection to minimise the risk of a person or object falling from height.

If risk remains, it must be minimised by implementing administrative controls, so far as is

reasonably practicable, for example install warning signs near the formwork and falsework
Any remaining risk must be minimised with suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such
as providing workers with hard hats, hearing protectors and high visibility vests.
Administrative control measures and PPE rely on human behaviour and supervision, and used
on their own tend to be least effective in minimising risks.
Combinations of control measures
In many cases, a combination of control measures will provide the best solution. For example,
protect workers from falls using fall protection devices, such as guard rails (engineering), and
other workers from falling objects by establishing an exclusion zone for the work area (isolation)
and providing hard hats (PPE).

2.4 Reviewing the risk control measures

The control measures that are implemented to protect the health and safety must be regularly
reviewed to ensure they are effective and that no new hazards have been introduced by the
control measures.
Common review methods include workplace inspection, consultation, testing and analysing
records and data.
When reviewing control measures, a SWMS must also be reviewed and revised where

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Formwork and falsework activity should be carefully planned before work starts so it can be
carried out safely. Planning involves identifying the hazards, assessing the risks and
determining appropriate control measures in consultation with all relevant persons involved in
the work, including the principal contractor, formwork/falsework contractor, designers and
mobile plant operators.
Consultation should include discussions on the:
nature and/or condition of the ground and/or working environment
weather conditions
nature of the work and other activities that may affect health and safety
interaction with other trades
site access
management of mobile plant and surrounding vehicular traffic
type of equipment used for formwork and falsework
public safety
provision of adequate amenities
procedures to deal with emergencies.

3.1 Construction project and principal contractor

Where the value of construction work is $250,000 or more, it becomes a construction project
requiring a principal contractor. There can only be one principal contractor for a construction
project and this will be either the person commissioning the construction work or a person
appointed as the principal contractor by the person commissioning the construction work.
The principal contractor has a range of duties in relation to a construction project including:
preparing and reviewing a WHS management plan
obtaining SWMS before any high risk construction work commences
putting in place arrangements to manage the work environment including falls, facilities,
first aid, an emergency plan and traffic management
installing signs showing the principal contactors name, contact details and location of
any site office
securing the construction workplace.
Although unlikely, it is possible that the formwork/falsework contractor will be the principal
contractor. This might occur, for example, where there is significant formwork and falsework
activity required and it forms the bulk of the construction work. In this case, the
formwork/falsework contractor, as the principal contractor, must comply with all principal
contractor duties.
Further guidance on WHS management plans can be found in the Code of Practice:
Construction Work.

3.2 Safe work method statements

A safe work method statement (SWMS) must be prepared for any high risk construction work
before the work starts.

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A range of activities defined as high risk construction work may be undertaken as part of
formwork and falsework, including work that:
involves a risk of a person falling more than 2 metres
involves structural alterations or repairs that require temporary support to prevent
is carried out on or near energised electrical installations or services
is carried out at a workplace in which there is any movement of powered mobile plant.
The SWMS must:
identify the type of high risk construction work being done
specify the health and safety hazards and risks arising from that work
describe how the risks will be controlled
describe how the control measures will be implemented, monitored and reviewed
be developed in consultation with workers and their representatives who are carrying out
the high risk construction work.
Further guidance on SWMS and an example SWMS template is available in the Code of
Practice: Construction Work.

3.3 Designers
S. 22: Designers have a duty to ensure, so far is reasonably practicable, that the structure is
designed to be without risks to the health and safety of persons in relation to the manufacture,
assembly, construction or use of the structure or the proper demolition or disposal of the
A designer of formwork or falsework is responsible for the planning and design of the complete
structure. This includes the design of the formwork support structure, the formwork deck(s) and
connection details. There are two design activities relating to formwork and/or falsework being
the design of:
the items of plant, and
the structure formed from the items of plant.
In relation to the manufacture, assembly, construction, use and proper dismantling/disposal of
plant or a structure, designers have a duty under the WHS Act to:
carry out, or arrange the carrying out of, any calculations, analysis, testing or
examination that may be necessary for the structure to be without risks to the safety of
persons, and
provide adequate information to each person who is provided with the design to give
effect to it concerning any conditions necessary to ensure that the structure is without
risks to health and safety.
A formwork and falsework designer must be a competent person, such as a person who holds a
tertiary qualification in a relevant engineering discipline.
Safety report
R. 295: The designer of a structure or any part of a structure that is to be constructed must give
the person conducting a business or undertaking who commissioned the design a written report
that specifies the hazards associated with the design of the structure that, so far as the designer
is reasonably aware:

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create a risk to the health or safety of persons who are to carry out construction work on the
structure or part; and
are associated only with the particular design and not with other designs of the same type of

The information requirements under the WHS Act may be incorporated into the safety report
prepared under the WHS Regulations. The safety report may include proprietary documentation
that sets out the safe use of a component or component system, formwork or falsework
methods and health and safety risk control measures will be used.
A person commissioning the construction work (the client) must consult, so far as is reasonably
practicable, with the designer of the whole or any part of the structure about eliminating and
controlling risks. If the client did not commission the design of the construction project, they
must take all reasonable steps to obtain the designers safety report.
Where there is a principal contractor, the client must give a copy of the designers safety report
to the principal contractor.
Further guidance on the safe design of buildings and structures can be found in the Code of
Practice: Safe Design of Structures.
Plant design
S. 22: Designers have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that plant is
designed to be without risks to the health and safety of persons who carry out any reasonably
foreseeable activity at a workplace in relation to the manufacture, assembly or use of the plant
for a purpose for which it was designed, or the proper storage, decommissioning, dismantling or
disposal of the plant.
Designers duties also apply to a person conducting a business or undertaking who modifies the
design during manufacture, or modifies existing plant, so that new measures for controlling risk
are required.
An importer of prefabricated formwork who is unable to source the necessary information from
the original designer assumes the designers responsibility to demonstrate that the plant
satisfies the relevant health and safety requirements. This can be achieved by having a
competent person develop the information for the supplier.
Further information on the safe design principles and registration of plant is available in the
Code of Practice: Safe Design, Manufacture, Import and Supply of Plant.
Plant design registration
All items of plant that require design registration under Schedule 5 (Part 1) of the WHS
Regulations, including prefabricated scaffolding and formwork, must be registered before use.
The design registration number must be kept in the vicinity of the plant.
If you are hiring prefabricated formwork, the supplier must provide the design registration
number, usually on the supply docket or agreement. This will need to be kept at the workplace.
Further information on the registration and safe design principles of plant can be found in the
Code of Practice: Plant Design, Manufacture, Import and Supply.

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Structure design
Anything that is constructed to support a load can be referred to as a structure, including
formwork and/or falsework.
As noted above, the term designer includes anyone who modifies the design. For example, if
the capacity of formwork is to be increased by adding additional components, a designer will
need to complete additional calculations to ensure the modified structure is capable of
supporting the additional load. The person designing the addition has designer duties and, if
they are not the original designer, they should consult the original designer to ensure the new
configuration does not compromise the existing design specifications or safety factors.
The design of a concrete structure can have a major effect on the ease of formwork
construction, and consequently, on the health and safety of persons during construction.
Generally, the more basic and simple the final concrete structure, the safer it is to construct,
erect and dismantle the formwork.
An experienced formwork designer should be consulted during the design of any concrete
structure to provide input on ways to minimise health and safety risks arising from formwork
activities. Some of the design measures that could be considered to minimise exposure to risk
of injury during the construction of formwork include:
Reducing variations in the floor depth, that is, construct a floor so that it has one
consistent depth. Decks that are a consistent depth are easier to erect than variable
depth floors and reduce the risk of injury. Deeper beams introduce drop downs into the
floor, creating trip and fall hazards, and requiring more work to construct and strip after
Where beam forms are essential, lightweight temporary access across the beam recess
must be provided to prevent injury to workers from stepping into the form during
Reducing the number of columns required and, where columns do exist, eliminate
capitals and dropdowns.
Utilise precast columns and beams. This can reduce the risks associated with fixing
reinforcement, erecting and stripping column formwork and pouring concrete on site.
Work activities carried out in a factory environment are generally lower risk.
Reducing cantilevered floor sections.
Planning for manual tasks. Consideration should be given to the suitability of the design
of different formwork systems that will reduce manual handling risks, including:
o table forms
o systems with lighter weights of materials to be handled
o methods of formwork erection, alteration and dismantling
o improved access and egress for workers and movement of materials and
o methods for moving large and heavy components, materials and equipment (that
is, making allowances for a crane and other mechanical lifting devices to be
Similarly, where falsework is required to support a complex structure during construction, such
as a stone arch bridge, the falsework designer should be involved in the structural design to
minimise the falsework complexity and minimise risk during its construction and dismantling.
The design process may be simple or complex depending on the size and complexity of the
structure involved. However, formwork and falsework must be designed by a competent

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person, for example a civil engineer experienced in structural design, to ensure that it is capable
of carrying the loads that will be applied to it.

3.4 Formwork and falsework design

Formwork and falsework designers should consider the work practices necessary to carry out
the erection and dismantling of the formwork/falsework as designed and identify health and
safety risks and controls at the design stage. Design matters to be considered include:
the possibility of using designs that do not require in-situ formwork, such as tilt-up or
precast concrete elements that may be constructed elsewhere and lifted into position
the method and sequence of erecting and dismantling the formwork/falsework and its
supports and the related risks, particularly relating to manual handling
the provision of safe access to and egress from the work areas on and around the
minimising the working heights for persons erecting and dismantling formwork/falsework
that guard rail systems (including toeboards), perimeter safety screens, scaffolding or
other means are able to be installed when working at heights
that fall arrest systems including safety lines are able to be installed if required
advice and information (such as drawings, scope of work instructions and bills of
quantity) provided to the formwork/falsework contractor and the principal contractor
regarding the use of multiple level frames or high strutting where additional safety
precautions may be required
that sloping surfaces on formwork are slip hazards and appropriate risk control
measures are identified if included in the design
reducing variations in the floor depth, that is, construct a floor so that it has one
consistent depth - decks that are a consistent depth are easier to erect than variable
depth floors and reduce the risk of injury and deeper beams introduce drop downs into
the deck
reducing the number of columns required - where columns exist, design the columns so
capitals or dropdowns do not exist
reducing cantilevered floor sections.
Technical standards
Formwork and falsework should be designed in accordance with acceptable engineering
principles and relevant technical standards, such as AS 3610: Formwork for concrete.
Engineering principles would include, for example, mathematical or scientific procedures
outlined in an engineering reference manual or standard.
A list of some relevant published technical standards is provided in Appendix B.
Formwork design
Formwork should be rigid, watertight, braced and tied together so as to maintain position and
shape during all construction activities. It should be constructed in such a way that it can be
removed easily and safely, without damaging the formed concrete. Where formwork is to be reused, the formwork design should ensure that form strength is retained after allowing for the
deterioration of materials through use and handling.
Formwork drawings should include all details of formwork, formwork joints, sealing procedures,
ties, size and spacing of framing and details of any proprietary fittings or systems proposed to
be used. Details of the construction and erection sequence should be included on the

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drawings. Where special requirements such as external vibration are involved, the formwork
design should include any additional structural loads to be applied.

Falsework design
Falsework can be used to support a range of permanent structures prior to their completion,
including formwork for wet concrete as well as major precast concrete elements or steel
sections, for example, for bridges (see Figure 1).
Off-the-shelf support systems are not generally suited to support complex arrangements unless
used as part of a specifically designed solution and documented by the design engineer.

Figure 1: Falsework supporting precast concrete bridge span (source RTA NSW)

Falsework must be designed to carry all loads that may be applied, including:
Dead Load - includes the mass of falsework, structural elements to be supported,
formwork, wet concrete, and concrete reinforcement and any other embedded material.
Superimposed Load - includes the mass of workmen, plant, equipment and runways,
stacked material and an impact allowance equal to 25 per cent of the all up weight of
any mechanically operated plant.
Wind Load the loads acting on the exposed area of falsework, formwork and any
object supported by the falsework or formwork.
Horizontal Loading - includes wind loading, horizontal surge loading for any
mechanically operated plant and any loading occurring during construction.
Other Loads - includes any special conditions likely to occur during construction,
including the redistribution of load due to the effects of prestressing or early application
of prestress, construction stages and staged removal of falsework. The falsework
design should also allow for, where required, the effects of water flow, traffic impact,
flooding and any other applicable conditions.

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Further information on load calculations can be found in:

AS 3610: Formwork for concrete
AS 1170 (Parts 1 and 2): Structural design actions - Permanent, imposed and other
actions and Structural design actions - Wind actions.

Figure 2: Falsework under erection (sourced from Worksite Site Safety Update No. 99 September 2010)

Falsework should not be designed to be supported or braced from completed permanent

structural elements unless it can be demonstrated that such temporary loading will not affect the
structural integrity of the relevant permanent element or the stability and integrity of the overall
falsework system.
Adequate bracing should be provided longitudinally and transversely to ensure that the
falsework is stable and that significant horizontal movements resulting from the applied loads
are limited.
A site-specific geotechnical investigation should be carried out by a competent person in
addition to any geotechnical investigation required for the design of the permanent structure.
This will enable the designer to establish whether the existing ground conditions are suitable for
the design and construction of the falsework system.
The foundations and footings of the falsework should be designed to prevent excessive
settlement and rotation of supports and to maintain overall structural integrity of the falsework
and the permanent structure or formwork being constructed.

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Where the foundation material can become saturated with water, the possibility of reduced
bearing capacity that could result in reduced stability and increased settlement or heave of the
foundation needs to be considered.
(Note: The use of timber footing pads is not recommended and timber should not be used if there is any
possibility of the pads being under water for even a short period. If timber footings are used, they should
be checked for the ability of the timber to withstand the applied crushing and other stresses. The erection
engineer should check and certify that the timber used is of the type and grade specified in the design.)

The design drawings should include all design assumptions and a statement of the loads and
any dimensional changes expected due to loading in all members of the falsework. The
drawings should detail all member sizes and materials, dimensions, levels, erection procedures
and other relevant details including bracing, connections and foundations, to ensure that
erection and inspection of the falsework can be undertaken safely. The design should also
include details of methods to provide safe access to all working zones of temporary and
permanent structures.
If changes are made to a construction procedure, the appropriate drawing or other document
should be updated and show all revisions clearly. Provisional updating by marking up or
preparing a hand drawn detail and signing and dating the mark-up or new detail should be
countersigned by the designer and, where applicable, the design verifier.

3.5 Adjacent buildings or structures

Where the formwork/falsework activity is likely to reduce the security or stability of any part of
any adjacent structure, the work must not commence or continue unless adequate steps are
taken to control the risk to any person from the:
collapse of the formwork/falsework or the permanent structure it supports onto the
adjacent building or structure
collapse of the adjacent building or structure, or a part of the building or structure.

3.6 Falls
R. 78: A person conducting a business or undertaking must manage the risk of a fall from one
level to another that is reasonably likely to cause injury to the person or another person.
Any construction work, including formwork and falsework, that involves a risk of a person falling
more than 2 metres is defined by the WHS Regulations as high risk construction work and a
SWMS must be prepared before this work commences.
Further guidance on managing the risks associated with falls and the safe use of ladders is
available in the Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces.

3.7 Securing the work area

R.298 A person conducting a business or undertaking where construction work is carried out
must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace is secured from
unauthorised access (including inadvertent entry).
In securing the workplace, you must consider:
risks to health and safety arising from unauthorised access to the work area, and
the likelihood of unauthorised access occurring.

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This requirement aims to protect other workers in the workplace who may be at risk by
restricting access to the formwork/falsework area. The person with management or control of
the construction workplace must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the
workplace is secured from unauthorised access from members of the public, for example when
the site is near schools, parks, shops or other public places.

3.8 Emergency plan

Regulation 43: A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that an emergency
plan is prepared for the workplace that provides procedures to respond effectively in an
To ensure a coordinated approach to responding in an emergency, the formwork/falsework
contractor should consult with the principal contractor to ensure any unexpected incidents, such
as formwork collapse or people falling from height, are included in the broader emergency plan
for the construction site prepared by the principal contractor.

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The nature of the formwork and falsework activity being undertaken will affect the selection of a
formwork method and a safe system of work.
There are a range of formwork and falsework systems and methods that may be used.
However, no matter what system or method is selected, the formwork and falsework to be
erected and all its components must be maintained in a safe and stable condition so as to
prevent the unexpected collapse of all or part the structure.
Further information on formwork methods can be found in AS 3610: Formwork for concrete.

4.1 Traditional and modular formwork systems

Traditional formwork systems were typically constructed on-site from timber or plywood and
supporting elements such as scaffolding.

Figure 3 - Traditional formwork assembly with cantilevered working platform at building perimeter

In addition to traditional systems, modular systems are also available that are specially
designed and manufactured off-site. These systems usually have proprietary formwork
components and rated load calculations set out by the manufacturer and are often made from
hardboard, plastics, steel and aluminium products. Most formwork systems use two or more
materials (for example, plywood facing to steel frames for wall panels).
In choosing a formwork system for a particular job, the safety of workers erecting, using and
dismantling the system must be considered, in particular stability, strength and the risk of falls
(both falling people and falling objects).

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When using a traditional system, a standard formwork frame that has a known tested loading
capacity should be used wherever possible and ensure that they are spaced at no more than
the recommended distances apart. Wherever practical, it is preferable to use a proprietary
formwork system as this usually results in improved safety for workers erecting and dismantling
the formwork and handling and storing materials. The best proprietary systems available have
integrated safety features that help to control the risk of falls and injury during manual tasks.
Where a modular system is used in combination with a traditional system formwork drawings
should be certified as complying with applicable Australian Standards. Similarly, components
from another system should not be used as an integral part of the modular framework system
unless the designer of the modular system states that this is permitted. All variations to a
design of a basic or non-basic system should be checked and verified in writing by a designer or
engineer as being acceptable.
Modular formwork systems are often lighter weight and require less physical effort than
traditional systems because they are often constructed from aluminium instead of steel and they
eliminate the need for tasks such as repetitive hammering. This reduces the risk of injury
resulting from undertaking manual tasks. However, because of their lighter weight, modular
systems may be more susceptible to falling over during the erection of the system, due to
factors such as wind loading. This will generally only be an issue prior to placement of the deck
on the modular system. To effectively control this issue the formwork system should be
progressively braced in accordance with the suppliers instructions during its erection.

4.2 Slip forms and jump forms

Slip forms and jump forms are the terms given to self-climbing formwork systems specifically
intended to construct concrete walls and columns in high rise buildings and other concrete
structures such as chimneys.
Slip forms and jump forms usually consist of a number of decks and may also be fitted with
trailing screens that are suspended from the form. As with perimeter screens, trailing screens
may provide edge protection for persons, prevent materials from falling; provide support for
work platforms or a combination of these uses. No two slip forms or jump forms will be identical
because their design depends on the size and configuration of the building under construction.
In slip forms, the climbing is usually carried out continuously during the concrete pour.

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Figure 4 - Slip form chimney construction (sourced from

With jump forms, the climbing is done in steps, following the concrete pour. The term climb
form is also used to describe a slip form or jump form. The power for the climbing operation can
be provided in a variety of ways, but usually by means of hydraulic rams or electric motors
connected to climbing feet or screw shafts.

Figure 5 - Jump form construction

(sourced from

4.3 Travelling formwork

Travelling formwork moves horizontally allowing the repeated construction of structural
elements such as in-situ concrete bridge spans. The formwork is generally supported by the

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permanent structure as it is progressively completed and therefore has the advantage that no
falsework is required over the length of the bridge.
Travelling forms are useful where there is limited capacity to construct falsework, such as over
rivers and operating roads or railways.

Figure 6 - Travelling formwork for bridge construction

(sourced from

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The erection and dismantling of formwork and falsework, must occur systematically and be tied
in progressively to stabilize the structure and can be critical to ensure the health and safety of
workers and the general public. Systems of work and control measures should be selected
based on individual job factors, the work environment and other factors identified by the risk
assessment process outlined in Chapter 2 of this Code.

5.1 Foundations and footings

Formwork and falsework must be erected on a stable base to prevent the risk of collapse.
Suspended slabs must be verified as able to safely support loads that may be applied by the
concrete pour, workers and crane lifted loads.
Base plates should be provided under props and standards on formwork and falsework frames
unless the prop or standard has an integral foot or a competent person documents that a base
plate is unnecessary. Sole boards designed to suit the ground conditions should also be used
under props and standards on natural ground, unless a competent person documents
Frames and props must be located on a firm base which is ground that will not subside, fail or
get washed away.
Adequate drainage for stormwater should be provided to prevent scouring of formwork and
falsework foundations and footings. Where foundations are located on batters, these need to
be protected against scour by directing drainage away from the base of frames.

5.2 Erection of formwork and falsework

The erection and dismantling of formwork and falsework should be performed by competent
persons. All prefabricated formwork and falsework should be erected and used in accordance
with the manufacturers instructions.
Where relevant, the erection of formwork and falsework must comply with the requirements for
the erection of scaffolding, including the use of appropriately licensed scaffolders. A licensed
scaffolder is required where a person or object can fall more than 4 metres. Trainee scaffolders
are permitted to perform scaffold work provided the trainee is adequately supervised by a
licensed person.
Formwork, like scaffolding, must be erected systematically and tied in progressively to stabilize
the structure.

5.3 Constructing formwork

Erecting formwork frames
Formwork frames must be erected in a progressive manner to ensure both the installers safety
and the stability of the overall structure. Braces must be attached to the frames as soon as
practical. As the erection of frames continues, designated access ways should be indicated by
the use of bunting or by other means

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The risk of a fall can exist on edges of formwork frames during their erection. In this situation, it
is necessary to install edge protection on the frames as they are erected. Provided the side
bracing (or other edge protection) is installed progressively and as soon as enough material has
been raised up, additional control measures to prevent a fall occurring do not have to be
provided. Many conventional formwork frames consist of diagonal braces that cross in the
middle. While these braces are not considered to be suitable edge protection for a completed
formwork deck, they may provide reasonable fall protection during frame erection. This is only
the case where braces are installed in a progressive manner as soon as the braces are handed
up to a person.
As the height of formwork frames increase, there is a greater need to provide lateral stability to
the frames. All framing must be carried out so that it complies with on-site design
documentation and any manufacturers requirements. Persons erecting formwork must be
trained in safe erection methods.
The risk of internal falls whilst erecting frames can be controlled by fully decking each lift. This
positioning a full deck of planks at each lift
positioning planks on the next lift while standing on a fully decked platform and
leaving each lift fully decked in place until it is dismantled.
During dismantling of a lift, planks are removed whilst standing on a fully decked platform
immediately below.
Formwork false deck
In situations where a deck is at a height that would require persons to stand at heights of two
metres or more to install bearers and joists for the formwork deck, a continuous false deck ,
which is a full deck the same area as the floor being formed, should be provided.
This deck should be provided both inside and between formwork frames and can typically
consist of formply, scaffold planks or modular platform sections. A protected access opening
can be left in the deck to enable materials to be lifted up. The use of a captive platform system
is preferable to lapped planks because a captive system cannot be accidentally dislodged.
Lapped planks may only be used if secured against uplift and slipping.
The false deck should be constructed such that there are no large gaps and gaps only exist
where a vertical member of a frame passes through the deck (see Figure 7).
Gaps should not exceed 225 mm in width.

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Figure 7 plan view of a false deck with gaps at vertical members

Where a false deck is provided, it should designed and installed to have adequate strength to
support persons required to stand on the deck and any materials or persons that could fall onto
the deck or be placed on the deck.
When considering the design of the deck for the erecting, altering and/or dismantling of
formwork the weight of the false deck, and live load should be applied to the formwork support
The height between the false deck and the pouring deck must allow access for a person during
stripping. Workers must not climb the framework.
Installing bearers
Bearers should be placed in position so that persons are located no more than two metres from
the floor or from the fall arresting platform located immediately below them. For example, the
bearer can be lifted up onto the top of the formwork frame with a person standing on a platform
erected no more than two metres from the floor or false deck located immediately below them
within the frame.
Bearers should be positioned such that they will not fall off the top of the frames. The usual
method of ensuring this is by placing the bearers in U-heads on top of the frames and by
ensuring cantilevers are minimised. Where only single bearers are placed in the U-head, the
bearer should be placed centrally in the U-head unless a formwork designer or engineer states
otherwise. Where the top of the supporting member consists of a flat plate, the bearer should be
nailed or otherwise effectively secured to the plate. U-heads should be used where two bearers
abut. Flat plates should only be used where specified by a formwork designer or engineer.
Installing joists
Where a false deck is provided at 2 metres or less below a worker, joists may be spread on the
bearers with the worker standing at bearer level (that is, on top).
If the height of the deck being constructed is more than 2 metres above a continuous deck or
surface below it, joists should be spread from a platform located within 2 metres of that surface,
underneath the deck being constructed (see Figure 8).

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Figure 8 - worker erecting formwork with permanent deck height >2 metres

One example of a work system that may be used to do this is as follows:

The joists are lifted by the workers from underneath and spread on top of the bearers
into their approximate final positions whilst standing on a lower work platform.
The platform below the deck should be positioned at a height appropriate for
handling joists (without introducing manual task risks) and not greater than two
metres above the continuous deck or surface below.
Fall protection from the formwork deck
During formwork construction the structure is constantly changing. Hence, continual
modification of fall protection measures is also necessary.
Where there is only one leading edge (that is, the other edges are provided with scaffolding
edge protection), the provision of fall protection on the leading edge is relatively straightforward.
However, where there are multiple leading edges and/or the deck is not at one consistent level
the provision of fall protection may be difficult to implement. Designers of buildings are therefore
encouraged to design floor slabs that are one consistent thickness.
Edge protection on the formwork deck
Where the design of the formwork is complex, it may be impractical to provide edge protection
on leading edges because the profile of the deck is constantly changing and construction of
leading edge protection would create more hazards than it would control. For example, the
persons installing the edge protection could be exposed to risk when installing the edge
However, in some situations it may be necessary to provide perimeter edge protection on edges
of the formwork deck. Examples where edge protection should be installed are:
If there is a change in deck height along the side of the deck being constructed (that
is, a drop down for a beam) and no joists and/or formply has been provided at this
different height, and
if a leading edge is to be left unattended and access onto the deck by persons other
than form workers is required (that is, the formwork deck has not been barricaded off
and provided with keep out signs)

PAGE 26 OF 43

at openings in elevator shafts.

The most effective means of providing edge protection on a completed formwork deck is by
providing perimeter scaffolding. Scaffolding is erected prior to the formwork and prevents
workers falling off the completed deck. The main advantage of this system is that persons are
not required to install edge protection on the perimeter of the formwork deck and are therefore
not exposed to a risk of falling. The other advantage is that edge protection for persons
installing the final perimeter formply sheets is already in place.
Where scaffolding over four metres in height is provided, any erection, dismantling or alteration
of the scaffolding must only be undertaken by licensed scaffolders. Any scaffolding components
must be replaced following removal. Gaps between a completed floor and scaffolding, that may
exist after the formwork support system is removed, must be covered where there is a risk of a
person or materials falling through the gap.
In some rare situations, it may be impractical to provide perimeter scaffolding. If this is the case,
the work system used to install perimeter edge protection on the deck must ensure that a
control measure is provided to ensure against the risk of a fall. The use of harness systems is
discouraged, because it does not provide an adequate and practical control for the risk of a fall
from height.
In some situations, edge protection can be substituted with an alternative measure provided this
measure prevents a person falling from the edge. One alternative is the provision of a barricade
1.8 metres back from the edge with clearly visible keep out signs.
Laying formply on the deck
A formwork deck must be laid in a progressive way so that persons will be provided with a
method to prevent them from falling below the deck. This control measure is particularly
important in situations where a false deck has not been provided within two metres below the
level of the deck to be laid.
Where a false deck has not been provided within two metres below, formply may only be spread
on the joists provided where:
Persons commence laying the formply sheets from the perimeter scaffolding or other
edge protection that has been provided on the perimeter of the formwork.
A minimum of four joists at 450 mm centres (400 mm gaps, totalling 1.8 metres) are
located on bearers next to the person and in the other direction joists extend for at least
1.8 metres (see Figure 9). Therefore, if a person falls they will fall onto the joists and
should be prevented from falling further. In some situations, there may be a possibility of
a person falling through the joists if the joists spread as the persons body makes
contact. This is more likely to be a potential hazard when the person falls onto the joists
such that the persons fall is in the same direction as the joists. Implementing controls to
minimise sideways movement of joists will minimise this possibility.
Persons lay the formply in front of their bodies so that if they stumble they are likely to
fall on top of the sheets being laid.

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Figure 9 Maximum spacing of timbers where deck is over 2 metres below

Where a leading edge is involved and the distance below the deck being constructed is greater
than two metres the SWMS work must detail how work will be completed to control the risk.
Cantilevered bearers, joists and ply sheets can be hazardous when left unsecured. The weight
of material or a person standing on the cantilever may make the timber see-saw and cause the
person or material to fall. When designing the formwork system the use of cantilevers should be
kept to a minimum. However, in some situations the use of cantilevered sections is unavoidable.
Where this is the case, a formwork designer must consider the potential for persons and stored
materials to cause cantilevers to pivot. Wherever the weight of a person will cause a cantilever
to pivot, the cantilever must be positively secured such that this will not occur.
Where self-weight of timber is inadequate to ensure the stability of the cantilever, all cantilevers
should be secured in accordance with the designers instructions. This may include nailing or
another effective method such as bolting. Nailing should be carried out such that the nail will not
pull out of the timber or shear off. Where skew nailing is used a minimum of two nails should be
used and the nail should meet the designers specifications.
Wherever practical, it is preferable to secure cantilevers such that the nail or bolt is loaded in
pure shear (that is, no pull-out load). The use of purpose designed brackets should also be
Materials should not be stacked or stored on a cantilever section unless the section has been
designed to carry that load. Temporary working platforms cantilevered from shoring frames are
a form of cantilevered scaffold. Where a person or object could fall more than 4 metres from
the cantilevered scaffold, workers involved in their erection, alteration or dismantling must hold

PAGE 28 OF 43

a valid scaffolding licence, or be under the direct supervision of a licensed scaffolder. The
minimum licence class for this type of work is Intermediate Scaffolding.
Open penetrations, such as stairwells or penetrations to allow for services, create hazards for
persons on the deck. A person may fall through a larger penetration, sustain injury by stepping
into a smaller penetration or an object may fall through the opening onto persons below. Any
penetration where there is a risk that a person or an object could fall through should be
Open penetrations must be protected either with edge protection (for example, handrails) or
securely covered. Cast-in metal mesh with a small aperture (for example, 50 x 50 mm mesh
size or smaller) should be used for small diameter penetrations. The mesh should be made of
material capable of withstanding potential loads. Where mesh or other physical fall protection
material is to be provided for larger penetrations this should be included in the design
specifications to ensure that it can withstand potential loads, including those applied by people,
equipment and material.
Where holes are cut in the mesh for services to pass through, the hole should be cut to the
profile of the service so that mesh remains in the penetration and the load carrying capacity of
the mesh is not reduced below any design specifications.
The use of ply covers alone, are not to be preferred because:
the cover may be indistinguishable from other pieces of ply
it may be difficult to determine if the ply is properly secured, and
secured ply covers can be unsecured to gain access and not re-secured.
However, where a ply cover is used in addition to cast-in mesh, it acts as a back-up system. Ply
covers should be painted in a bright colour and be marked appropriately (for example, Danger
Hole Under). The cover should be firmly secured to the concrete and be designed for potential
loads that may be applied.
Before stripping formwork, the penetration that will be exposed as the formwork is stripped must
be covered and or protected prior to the commencement of the stripping operation.
Penetrations are also hazardous before the deck is laid. Joists placed up to the edge of the
penetration should be secured so that the timbers cannot spread if a person falls on them.
Working areas for steel fixers and others
Steel fixers, plumbers and electricians, often follow closely behind the formwork erection. The
formwork zone should be large enough to ensure that these other persons are clearly separated
from form workers.
A formwork only zone should be maintained behind the leading edge. This zone should be
clearly demarcated by signage and a mesh barrier. Figure 10 illustrates the other work zone,
the formwork zone and the area retained as edge protection (four joists spaced 1800 mm
beyond the laid deck).
To control the risk of slips and trips when multiple trades are accessing large areas where
reinforcement mesh has been laid behind formworkers, use temporary walkways that are laid
across the reinforcement mesh.

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Figure 10 End view of deck showing working zones (source QLD code page 20)

Changing floor levels

Formwork decks are rarely flat across the entire floor, generally due to deep beams or drop
downs (sometimes called capitals) around columns. Uneven floors introduce fall hazards. It is
preferable that these hazards be eliminated at the design stage. These hazards are most
effectively managed by ensuring that formwork supports and the deck are progressively
constructed for the lower parts of the deck before work commences on the higher-level areas of
the deck.

5.4 Crane and load handling

The lifting and placing of loads is a common formwork and falsework activity that can have
catastrophic consequences if not managed appropriately. Designers need to consider the work
systems that may be used so that formwork and falsework structures are designed to be
capable of carrying temporary loads during construction and dismantling, as well as the load of
the permanent structure.
Loading materials during construction
Plant and materials, including propping members, stacks of ply, forms, bearers and joists, are
sometimes lifted onto a deck during formwork/falsework erection, and before the deck is signed
over. Stacked materials create point loadings which the formwork/falsework structure may not
be designed to bear.
Plant and materials should only be stored on formwork and falsework where allowed for by the
design and when the structure or deck is sufficiently constructed so it is able to bear the load.
Formwork is not suitable for any loading until it is fully secured. That is, when the deck is in
place with tie-ins and back-propping complete. In practice, some loading often occurs before the
deck is completed, for example, unloading pallets of ply and joists used to construct the deck.

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To minimise the risk of collapse and other hazards:

Formwork/falsework design drawings should clearly identify the maximum point loadings
for the temporary structure or deck (pre-pour for concrete formwork).
Point loadings must not exceed the maximum weight specified by a designer.
Loads must not be placed on the temporary structure or deck if the designers
documentation prohibits loading.
Crane crews should be notified when an area of the temporary structure or deck is ready
to take a plant/material load, and where that load can be placed safely (lifting zone).
Crane crews should not lift plant or materials onto the temporary structure or deck until
there is a designated lifting zone and it has been clearly identified.
Loads, including people, should only be placed in the area(s) designated as safe.
Delivery of materials to the workplace should be planned so that loads are not lifted onto
an incomplete or unsecured temporary structure or deck.
Prior to persons leaving the workplace, plant and materials should be secured to prevent
them being moved by wind loads.
Access for persons slinging loads
Safe access and egress must be provided for all persons working on formwork or falsework,
including persons slinging and un-slinging loads.
It may be practical to fit platforms and edge protection to lift forms to protect persons when
slinging the loads. Persons required to access the platforms from ladders should have a safe
means of access provided between the ladder and platform. They should not climb over the top
of the edge protection.
Where ladders are to be used by persons while slinging loads, they should be secured to
prevent movement.
Further guidance on managing the risks associated with falls and the safe use of ladders is
available in the Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces.
Lifting plant and materials
Crane-lifted loads should be slung and secured so that the load (or any part of it) cannot fall.
The following issues need to be considered when undertaking formwork or falsework:
Tare mass of wall, lift or column forms should be provided with formwork/falsework
documentation and made available for inspection by all interested parties.
Formwork/falsework frames should either be tied together or lifting slings should be
wrapped around the load.
Loads of joists or bearers should be strapped together before lifting.
Formply loads should be strapped together and lifted in a flat position.
Lifting lugs
Slings attached to lugs or holes cut into part of the load are often used to lift forms (instead of
wrapping the lifting slings around the load). Where lugs or holes are used, designer information
verifying the structural adequacy of the lifting points should be available including the:
structural adequacy of the lifting lug/hole, and
means of attaching a lug to the load (usually welded or bolted to the load).

5.5 Inspection and monitoring

A competent person, such as a qualified engineer, should inspect and confirm installed
formwork and falsework is built to specification and structurally sound before it is loaded. The

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scope of this certification work should be documented so that there is no confusion or doubt as
to what has been inspected.
The erected formwork and falsework should not be subjected to any load until it has been
confirmed as meeting the design specification. The erected formwork and falsework must not
be subjected to any loading that exceeds the design loading as specified by the designer. To
maintain stability of the forms the placement of concrete should be less than the maximum
calculated pour rate on the inboard part of any formwork before proceeding to a cantilever
Formwork and falsework should be monitored as it is loaded to check that vertical and
horizontal movements do not exceed specifications. In addition, the condition of any falsework
that is to remain in service for long periods should be routinely checked to ensure that its
components remain fit for purpose and that any deterioration is not adversely affecting its load
bearing capacity. No person should be placed beneath formwork deck during concrete
placement. Hoisting, pumping and other equipment should not be attached to the formwork
unless specifically designed for the purpose.
An observer should continuously supervise the placement of concrete into the formwork
assembly, and be provided with a communication system to alert the concrete crews in case an
emergency arises.
Further information on specifications on loads and vertical and horizontal movements can be
found in AS 3610 Supplement 2: Formwork for concrete Commentary.

5.6 Stripping formwork

Stripping formwork can be one of the most hazardous phases of in-situ concrete construction.
While falling objects are the primary hazard, there may also be fall hazards as a result of floor
collapse and manual tasks hazards from a person working in awkward postures, repetitive
handling of materials and limited task variety. As with formwork erection, the stripping operation
should be carried out in an orderly, progressive manner.
An assessment of the risks in stripping formwork should include consideration of the following:
the number of persons in the stripping crew
the sequence of stripping activities this would need to detail how the frames and/or
other supports should be removed (that is, how far U-heads are to be lowered)
whether the support system is to be completely removed in a zone prior to removal of
the formwork deck or whether the supports are to be lowered slightly but still remain
under the formply while it is being removed
when back-propping is required or only part of the support system is to be removed, how
the structural members are to remain in place and/or the type and layout of members
that will replace the formwork system
any other special requirements involved in the stripping and or building process (for
example, checking of back-propping after post-tensioning)
providing adequate lighting of work area and surroundings
maintaining housekeeping, removing nails and rejected materials, stacking stripped
formwork, removing tripping hazards such as concrete nails and brace anchor inserts
from floor.

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Competent person sign-off prior to stripping

Prior to commencement of the stripping operation, a competent person, such as a qualified
engineer, should provide written confirmation that the formwork can be removed. The
certification should be based on the design specifications for the structure, the verification of the
strength of the concrete mix and the time period that has elapsed since the pour. A competent
person should also have input into the stripping work method statement to ensure the
permanent concrete element will not fail and result in collapse.
Documentation from the concrete supplier verifying the concrete specification should be
available on request. A concrete sampling and testing procedure should be in place to verify the
concrete meets its design specification. Further information on sampling and testing systems for
concrete is available in AS 1379: Specification and Supply of Concrete.
Bond reduction
Stripping of formwork will be aided by reducing the bond between the form material and the
concrete. The bond will be dependent on the material characteristics and the smoothness of the
form material. The use of a liquid bond breaker on wall and column forms is one way of
reducing the strength of the bond. However, the use of bond breaker on floor forms is not
encouraged because of the slip hazard that may result.
Exclusion zone
Only persons involved in the stripping operation should be permitted in the area to be stripped.
Stripping areas should be cordoned off and signs should be displayed. The signs should require
persons to keep out of the area (for example, Danger - Formwork stripping in progress
authorised persons only).
It is preferable to restrict access to the whole floor where soffit stripping is taking place and this
should reduce the quantity of signage and barricades required. Where other trades are required
to work on the same floor during stripping of walls, columns or small sections of soffit,
appropriate controls will need to be applied to prevent other persons from entering the stripping
Drop stripping
Formwork removal must be carried out in a systematic manner, such that the deck is
progressively removed as the support system is gradually removed. One way to remove the
formply is by partially lowering the support system and then dropping the segment of the deck
(sheet) onto the support system. This is eliminates the need to manually lift sheets of ply from
ground level.
Drop stripping is a term sometimes used to describe the method used when all of the formwork
support system is removed and the formply is allowed to drop to the floor either by its own
weight or by persons levering it off. Drop stripping should never be used to strip formwork. It can
be very hazardous because the formply is likely to fall in an uncontrolled manner and can strike
persons in the vicinity of the work.

5.7 Dismantling falsework

As with formwork, a competent person, such as a qualified engineer, should provide written
confirmation that the permanent structure is self-supporting and the falsework can be safely
removed. In general, falsework should be dismantled in an orderly sequence that is the reverse
of its erection. Back propping arrangements must also be verified prior to commencing removal.

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For in-situ concrete structures, all or most of the formwork should be removed before the
falsework is removed.
If the dismantling of formwork and/or falsework is to occur over live vehicular or pedestrian
traffic, utilise road closures or exclusion zones to prevent objects falling onto traffic, and/or
physical barriers such as catch platforms to prevent objects falling onto traffic.
Where work is being undertaken over operational roadways or railways, measures should be
taken to ensure that:
protection is in place at all times to prevent objects falling onto traffic or persons below
temporary fencing known as a perimeter screen, that is at least 2 metres high is
provided on the side(s) of the erected deck
such fencing should be clad with shade cloth or similar material to contain any falling or
wind-blown items.

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6.1 Wall and column forms

Bracing for wind loading
Wall and column forms should be designed to withstand wind loading prior to, during and after
the concrete pour. The bracing and forms should not be removed from the cast element until it
can safely withstand potential impact loads and wind loads.
Lateral support can be provided to vertical elements in a variety of ways including horizontal
and angled braces and structural connections to other parts of the building. A bracing element
design should be completed by a competent person.
The bracing element must also be able to resist both tensile and compressive loads that may be
applied by the wind. Anchors for braces should preferably be cast-in type anchors or throughbolts that extend through both sides of the anchoring medium. Drill-in anchors of the following
type may be used provided they are installed in accordance with the manufacturers
undercut type anchor that do not rely on friction to function;
expansion anchors of the high-load slip, torque controlled type. These anchors have a
working load of at least 60 per cent of the first slip load and are generally suitable for
structural tensile loads;
coil bolts - the correct operation of coil bolts is greatly dependant on their being installed
in accordance with a manufacturers specifications (for example, drilling the correct size
hole and applying the correct torque in concrete of adequate strength).
Drill-in type anchors should have their torque set using an appropriate torque wrench or another
reliable method that will verify the torque (that is, a calibrated rattle gun). Written records
verifying the setting torque for all drill-in type anchors should be available at the workplace.
Access platforms
Suitable access for doggers, steel fixers and concreters should be provided and may include
mobile scaffolding, purpose built work platforms or elevating work platforms. Edge protection
should be provided on the access platforms. Preferred methods of access to platforms include
stair access systems, or if impractical by means of secured industrial ladders.
The access method should allow adequate room for a person and be positioned at a height and
distance from the form so as to minimise movement and a persons exertion. Any concrete
pouring system should permit adequate space for a person to stand with edge protection
All mobile work platforms should have their castors locked at all times except when relocating
the mobile platform. Platforms should also be designed to resist any side loading that may be
applied during a concrete pour to ensure the platform does not overturn. Aluminium scaffolding
may not have adequate self-weight to ensure this.
Lifting methods
Wall and column form should be provided with lifting points that have been designed by a
competent person. Design drawings should confirm this. Holes cut with oxy-acetylene torches

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in-situ are not recommended as they may damage the form, be inaccurate and make it difficult
to attach lifting gear.
Where lifting lugs are attached to the form, the weld size and length should be specified by a
competent person and the manufacturer should ensure that the weld complies with the design
requirements (that is, of the correct size and has adequate weld penetration).
Wall and column forms must only be lifted with a positive lifting system such as lifting lugs or by
slinging the lifting slings around the form such that the form cannot slip out of the slings.
Purpose designed lifting lugs are preferable to slinging the load because there is less risk of the
load becoming inadvertently disconnected from the crane hook.

6.2 Slip, jump and travelling forms

This section applies to slip forms, jump forms, travelling forms and crane lifted forms that
incorporate working platforms and enclosed cells in which persons are required to work.
The work systems and layout of some crane-lifted forms may also be similar to those associated
with slip forms and jump forms. This may be the case for crane-lifted forms provided for the
inside of lift shafts.
While most of the information in this section applies to slip forms and jump forms, some of the
principles may also apply to travelling and crane-lifted forms.
When designing and operating these types of form, the following issues should be addressed:
provision for safe access to all areas and work platforms
control of risk associated with working at height
provision of sufficient working space and head room
specification of appropriate manual handling methods for shutters and other
components, for example, the use of cranes to lift shutters and provision of safe access
for persons attaching slings to shutters
provision for retrieval of an injured or incapacitated person from any work area located
within the structure.
It is acknowledged it may not be practicable to provide an access system and working
environment on a jump form or slip form that are of the same standard as elsewhere. This is
primarily due to building characteristics and weight limitations. A designer must minimise the
risks so far as is reasonably practicable.
Design issues
The design of jump forms and slip forms is more complex than the design of traditional
formwork systems for floors. Greater technical input from a designer is required including
consideration of wind loading. For this reason, the slip form or jump form designer should be a
qualified and competent person (for example, a structural engineer).
The jump form or slip form designer should be involved both in the initial design of the form and
in addressing ongoing design issues that will occur during form erection and during the life of
the building project. Many of the design problems associated with jump forms and slip forms will
not become apparent until the job is progressing and it is likely that alterations to the design of
the form will be necessary. The designer should therefore inspect the form at the workplace and

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work closely with persons involved in its operation, and the principal contractor, to determine if
difficulties are being encountered.
Chapter 3 of this Code discusses formwork and falsework design considerations. In addition,
the following factors should be considered by the designer of these types of formwork:
minimum concrete strength required prior to climbing
allowance for all loads, including dynamic and wind loads that may be applied to the
allowance for loads applied by workers and concrete placing activities
allowance may also need to be made for impact loading when materials are lifted onto
the deck of the form
allowance for the effects of eccentric loading on the form, both during climbing and at
other times, noting the requirements in the operating procedures for the form
the maximum degree to which the form can be out-of-level during climbing, and the
procedure required both to minimise the likelihood of this occurring and how to remedy
the situation if the form becomes out-of-level
rescue procedure requirements that may affect the design of the form - the rescue
procedure may require access to all levels of the form and cells, either through the
provision of gates or removal of panels on the form.
Access and egress
Access to the form may be provided in a variety of ways including one or more of the following:
personnel and material hoists on the building
permanent stair systems in the building
a trailing stair system suspended from the slip form or jump form, and/or
a trailing ladder system.
A trailing stair system is preferable to a ladder system because it is easier for persons to ascend
and descend and emergency evacuation is generally easier on a stair system.
The access area between the trailing access system and the building should be clear of trip
hazards and there should be no gaps between platforms exceeding 100 mm wide.
A formwork designer should ensure that any trailing access system is designed for loads that
could be applied in an emergency evacuation situation. Both the strength of the system itself,
and the ability of the form to withstand applied loads from the access system, should be
Where the designer of the formwork specifies a lesser live load than 2.5kPa, the following
should apply:
a sign stating the maximum load that can be applied to the stairs should be fixed to the
stairs in a visible position
written procedures are implemented to ensure the maximum number of persons on the
form is not exceeded.
Any access ladders should be secured in place. Further guidance on the safe use of ladders is
available in the Code of Practice: Managing the risk of falls at workplaces.
Access openings for ladders on working decks should be provided with trapdoors that are
closed except when being accessed. Trapdoors should be provided with a device so that they

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can be easily opened from above. This device should not pose a trip hazard for persons on the
Access ways should be kept free of materials and rubbish to prevent objects falling to the
level(s) below.
Working platforms and penetrations
The following points highlight specific issues that should be considered:
All penetrations should be covered by formply that is secured in position or should be
provided with leading or perimeter edge protection.
When placing steel or pouring concrete into a form, controls should be provided to
prevent a person falling into or off the form. This becomes more of an issue when the
width of the form is greater than 225 mm prior to placement of reinforcing steel. A person
working in proximity to projecting reinforcing steel or other objects must be protected
from the risk of being impaled by these objects. Suitable controls may include edge
protection on the internal side of the working platform or sheets of steel re-enforcement
mesh temporarily placed on top of the form that is, the steel can be fed through the gaps
in the mesh.
All platforms that may be affected by uplift should be positively secured so that uplift
cannot occur. Uplift can occur from wind loading or when a platform is out-of-level and
unsecured. In the latter instance, the platform can see-saw when a load is applied to the
end of the platform and then drop a person off the platform if one of the platforms
supports moves. This may be the case where work platforms are supported by a trailing
screen on one side and a parapet of the building on the other.
Where individual cells of the form are climbed at different times, edge protection should
be provided on each of the raised cells.
Trailing screens and platforms
Trailing screens can provide edge protection, a means of preventing falling objects and be
designed to incorporate working platforms. Where platforms are provided these are usually for
the purpose of patching the building or carrying out minor repairs, and for access for persons
climbing the form. A designer of formwork will specifically need to address all issues for which
the trailing screen system is designed.
The following issues should be included in the design:
A suitable design loading for any platforms on the trailing system. Signs should be fixed
to the platforms that state the maximum load permitted in kilograms. Persons at the
workplace should be made aware of the maximum loading that may be applied to the
trailing platform and this should be stated in documentation kept at the workplace.
Adequate controls should be provided to control the risk of falling objects.
All platforms should be secured to prevent uplift or any other movement.
Except where it is impractical to do otherwise, a person should not be located on trailing
platforms while the platforms are crane lifted. If a person is located on a platform while it is
being lifted by a crane, the following controls must be implemented:
a person should be prevented from falling down any gap that may exist on the inside
edge of the platform that is, between the platform and the wall being constructed. It is
preferable to provide edge protection on the inside edge to ensure this. Fall arrest
harnesses may be provided for workers as long as workers are trained in their safe use
and a rescue procedure for retrieval of workers following a fall has been prepared;

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persons on the platform hold at least a dogger or rigger licence class or a person with
such a licence class is also located on the platform as it is lifted
a clear method of communication between the crane operator and the dogger
responsible for directing the lift exists, such as a whistle or two way radios.

Climbing the form

It is important to ensure the different parts of the form remain level during the climbing process.
Climbing is usually carried out using a series of climbing devices set up to lift at the same time
and at the same rate.
If the lifting system is not properly synchronised the form may become wedged on the structure
or structural members may be overloaded. There should therefore be a system to ensure that
the form does not go out-of-level during the climbing procedure. This system may be an
automated system or may rely on operators stopping the climbing process.
The following should apply:
Only persons directly involved with the climbing process should be located on the form
during the climbing process.
Any potential nip or shear points where a person could be injured during the climb are
identified and risk controls implemented.
All obstructions on the form have been removed prior to the form being climbed. A signoff procedure for this should be provided. This includes the removal of Z-bars, ferrule
bolts and other material that would snag on the structure if they were not removed.
Services including electrical cable and water pipes have been designed so that they will
not rupture or snag as the form is climbed.
When removing a form from a vertical element, the form must be effectively supported such that
it never relies on suction for support. Serious incidents have occurred when it has been
assumed that a form is supported from above when it is in fact relying on through bolts through
the wall for support. When the bolts have been removed the form has fallen, with the persons
still standing on a platform attached to the form. This hazard can apply both to crane lifted forms
and jump forms.
Instruction and training
In view of the specialised work systems and unique hazards that exist on slip and jump forms,
specific instruction and training should be provided for persons intending to work on the forms.
Training should include, but not be limited to:
the maximum loadings that can be applied to the various areas on the form - this would
include information about areas where materials can be stored
restricted access areas and procedures for installation and removal of edge protection
climbing or jumping procedures for those involved in these operations
emergency evacuation procedures for those required to work on the form
fire fighting procedures to be used in emergency situations prior to fire fighting personnel
arriving at the scene
any other special work procedures that specifically apply to working on the form, for
example, time limits for working in cells where these apply or safe undertaking of manual
Health issues and workplace facilities
The following provisions should be considered to ensure the welfare of workers involved in slip
and jump formwork:

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Adequate ventilation and access to all cells in jump forms or slip forms. It is difficult for
persons to spend extended periods in cells due to the heat and cramped working
conditions. Allowance should be made for these issues and it may be necessary to
specify maximum times for particular cells depending on temperature, humidity and cell
size. These times should be developed as part of a work method statement following
consultation between the formwork contractor and the workers.
Adequate ventilation and access within cells and it may be necessary to provide
ventilation grills or access ways in the cells.
Clean drinking water on the top level of the slip or jump form. On larger slip forms and
jump forms it may be necessary to provide clean drinking water on other levels.
A chemical toilet on the top of the jump form.
First aid equipment.

Fire extinguishers, hoses and other means of fire prevention and control should be provided on
the jump form or slip form in accordance with relevant legislation.
Emergency procedures for the jump form or slip form must be developed, documented and
implemented. Workers must be trained in these procedures.
The emergency procedures should include, but not be limited to:
the method of alert in the event of an emergency and the method of extracting persons
from each location or cell that the persons have access to or could fall into
when to evacuate persons from the form
evacuation muster points both on and off the form
training in the use of fire extinguishers
identifying persons responsible for ensuring evacuation takes place
rescue procedures in the event of severe medical conditions
identifying persons responsible for rescuing workers
rescue training for persons involved in rescuing others, where outside experts will not be
responsible for performing the rescue.
Response to emergency situations must be considered during formwork design and in an
ongoing way during construction. Emergency arrangements for the evacuation of an injured
worker from a formwork cell need to consider how to safely remove an immobilised or
unconscious person. This may include creating emergency access holes and doorways through
decks and screens. Procedures must identify how to access lift-voids and other areas, including
cells within the core which may have limited access.
Emergency services contacts should be clearly identified and available.

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The primary horizontal support members for a formwork deck that are
placed on top of formwork frames. Bearers are usually constructed from
timber but are sometimes constructed from metal, such as in the case of
some modular formwork systems.

Catch platform

A temporary platform located below a work area that is designed to:

(a) catch a worker in the event of a fall; and
(b) sustain the maximum potential impact load of a falling person.


An area of a slip form, jump form or crane lifted form where a worker or
workers are required to carry out work. The cell will at least be enclosed
by all sides and a bottom surface.

Competent person

A person who has acquired through training, qualification or experience

the knowledge and skills to carry out the task.
Note: For certain activities, specific additional competencies are required refer to
Chapter 1 of the WHS Regulations.


A competent person that has tertiary qualifications in an engineering

discipline relevant to the design activity they are undertaking, for
example, civil engineer.

Erection engineer

The engineer that undertakes the planning and design activities relating
to the erection of the formwork and/or falsework. This includes the
provision of the design and documentation of all temporary works and
special equipment required for construction on-site.


A fall by a person or object from one level to another.

High risk construction


Construction work that:

involves a risk of a person falling more than 2 metres
involves, or is likely to involve, the disturbance of asbestos
involves structural alterations or repairs that require temporary
support to prevent collapse
is carried out in or near a confined space
is carried out in or near a shaft or trench with an excavated depth
greater than 1.5 metres, or a tunnel
involves the use of explosives
is carried out on or near pressurised gas distribution mains or piping
is carried out on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines
is carried out on or near energised electrical installations or services
is carried out in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable
is carried out on, in or adjacent to a road, railway, shipping lane or
other traffic corridor that is in use by traffic other than pedestrians
is carried out in an area at a workplace in which there is any
movement of powered mobile plant

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is carried out in or near water or other liquid that involves a risk of


A secondary horizontal support member for the formwork deck that is

placed on top of bearers, at right angles to the bearers. Joists are usually
constructed from timber but are sometimes constructed from metal, such
as in the case of some modular formwork systems.

Modular Formwork

A formwork system that is specifically designed for formwork and

consists of components that are not designed to be used with other

Perimeter safety

A protective structure fixed to the perimeter of a building, structure or

working platform to prevent objects and people from falling.


A slender structural member placed in a vertical position between two

horizontal surfaces and used to support the upper surface.

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Technical Standards
The following table is a list of published technical standards that provide guidance on some
matters relevant to the use of formwork and falsework. These technical standards provide
guidance only and compliance with them does not guarantee compliance with the WHS Act and
Regulations in all instances. This list is not exhaustive.
Australian Standards and Australian/New Zealand Standards
AS 3610
Formwork for concrete
AS 1170 (Part 1)
Structural design actionsPermanent, imposed and other actions
AS 1170 (Part 2)
Structural design actionsWind actions
AS 1379
Specification and Supply of Concrete
AS 2550 (series)
Cranes, hoists and winches Safe use
AS 2601
Demolition of structures
AS 3600
Concrete structures
AS 1657
Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders Design, construction
and installation

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