Australian Standards & Codes for Scaffolding

Links to the legislative requirements for scaffolding in Australia

What is the difference between Standards & Codes?

 The difference between Australian Standards and Codes of Practice lies in their purposes, legal status, and application contexts. 

Australian Standards


  • Australian Standards are documents developed by Standards Australia that provide guidelines, specifications, and criteria to ensure that products, services, and systems are safe, reliable, and consistently perform as intended.

Legal Status:

  • Compliance with Australian Standards is generally voluntary unless they are referenced by legislation, regulations, or contractual obligations, which then make them mandatory.


  • They cover a wide range of areas, including building and construction, electrical engineering, information technology, and environmental management.
  • They are used by manufacturers, industry professionals, and organizations to ensure quality and safety.


  • Developed through a consensus process involving various stakeholders, including industry experts, government bodies, and consumer representatives.

Codes of Practice


  • Codes of Practice are practical guides provided by government agencies or industry bodies to help individuals and organisations comply with regulatory requirements and best practices in specific areas.

Legal Status:

  • They are often legally enforceable when referenced by legislation or regulations. Even when not legally binding, they can be used in legal proceedings as evidence of what is considered best practice or reasonable behavior in a given context.


  • Typically focused on specific industries or activities, such as workplace health and safety, environmental protection, and industrial relations.
  • They provide detailed instructions on how to meet regulatory requirements and are designed to help ensure compliance with laws.


  • Developed by government agencies, industry associations, and regulatory bodies, often in consultation with stakeholders and experts in the relevant field.

Key Differences

  1. Authority and Enforcement:

    • Australian Standards: Voluntary unless mandated by law or contract.
    • Codes of Practice: Often have legal standing when cited by legislation or regulations.
  2. Content Focus:

    • Australian Standards: Broad technical and safety specifications across various fields.
    • Codes of Practice: Practical guidance on complying with legal and regulatory requirements.
  3. Development Process:

    • Australian Standards: Developed through a formal consensus process by Standards Australia.
    • Codes of Practice: Typically developed by government or regulatory bodies with stakeholder input.
  4. Usage:

    • Australian Standards: Used for designing, manufacturing, and ensuring the safety and performance of products and systems.
    • Codes of Practice: Used for operational compliance and ensuring legal adherence in specific activities or industries.

Understanding these differences is crucial for scaffolding professionals who need to comply with regulatory requirements and ensure their practices align with industry standards.

WHS Legislation Hierarchy

WHS Legislation

Codes of Practice for Scaffolding

Currently, Queensland is the only state with a code of practice for scaffolding.

Australian Standards for Scaffolding

Australian Standards are available for purchase from the Standards Australia Store and must be purchased individually.

Scaffolding Association Australia (SAA) members can purchase a subscription through your membership to access the Small Business Set for Scaffolding created by the SAA in conjunction with Standards Australia.

Industry Standards for Scaffolding

New South Wales has an Industry Standard for scaffolding and Victoria are developing theirs now (June 2024); this will be published here when it is released.

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