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Hazards of reo-bars

Safety Alert
1 December 2012

A formwork employee, gaining access over a 1.2 metre high framework structure under construction, fell approximately 300mm onto an uncapped reinforcement bar, when the tie wire of the reinforcement being used as a ladder collapsed under his weight.

The worker sustained a severe penetration wound injury resulting in admission to hospital.

Reo-bars on a building site

Possible causes

  • Climbing reinforcement is an unsafe system of working at height.
  • Inadequate risk assessment was conducted for this task.
  • Inadequate planning for the construction of the formwork.
  • Reinforcement bars were not adequately capped.

Action required

  • Carry out a detailed risk assessment prior to starting the job, considering all risks that could arise, and eliminate them from the work process, or put in place measures to control those risks.
  • Plan tasks to eliminate or reduce any risks associated with formwork and the potential hazards associated with the use of reo-bars.
  • Provide a safe means of access and egress to formwork.
  • Exposed reo-bars should be securely capped where there is any potential risk to workers.
  • Ensure that reo-bar caps are maintained throughout the progress of the task.
  • Reinforced reo-bar caps should be considered when working at heights around vertical reo-bars.
  • Note that non-reinforced reo-bar caps only prevent minor scratches and cuts, they will not prevent impalement.
Disclaimer: While care has been taken to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information in this publication, at the time of reading it may not be sufficiently accurate, current or complete to suit your individual needs. Reliance on the information in this publication is at your own risk. SafeWork SA accepts no liability for any loss resulting from your reliance on it. To best meet your work health and safety obligations refer to current Acts, Regulations and Approved Codes of Practice.