Managing the Risks of Formwork and Falsework

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Both formwork and falsework can be temporary structures of a construction design that supports the permanent central installation in the building process. They hold the concrete until it becomes cast and hardens to sustain itself. At times, many people (usual amateurs) confuse the same structure for each other. So, the first ideal thing is to differentiate between the two types of systems. Formwork is a structural component or form on which concrete is poured to mold it into the desired shape to provide bracing or frame for structural stability in the actual building.

Managing the Risks of Formwork and Falsework

On the other hand, a falsework is the assemblage of formworks. Furthermore, a falsework refers to the transitory development of props and frameworks, usually in a curvy or crossing shape that can hold structural components together until they can stand independently. Meanwhile, falsework that serves the purpose of curves and arcs is typically called Centring. So, what is the similarity and difference between formwork and a falsework?

Falsework is a feature of the comprehensive formwork because it also provides transitory support to a formwork as a mold in progress. However, there are extra solid application techniques in building, such as shotcrete, that can help to lessen the need for formwork. In both cases, there should be a solid guarantee of quality and timely delivery while remaining on a budget in cost management, and all parties go home happy. 

Many times, professionally speaking, we regard the ‘associates’ of formwork as technical falsework. Some of these items include bracing, foundations, bearers, joists, and footings. As the falsework provides the needed support to the temporary structure, the formwork can become the permanent structure in some cases. The latter can become self-supporting and long-lasting. Some of the structural members of falsework are the items that produce the need for structural support for formwork.

Risk Management with Formwork and Falsework

What are the essential steps in risk management with formwork and frameworks that contractors need to observe? When constructing these structures for the safety of workers that perform the actual tasks in the whole construction project. We also have to understand the strict safety regulations of the Australian economy significantly as it regards associated risks with the construction of formworks and frameworks. Below are some basic steps in risk management for projects.

Identify Risks

All stakeholders must identify the essence of measuring risks, beginning with identifying such risks about the workers and the project itself. Below are ways to identify involved risks with formwork and falsework construction.

  • Inspect the construction site for any loophole that could pose a potential danger to formwork and falsework. These items can interact with pedestrians, vehicles, and fixed and movable structures, including electrical lines.
  • Look out for every ground condition that determines the quality of the formwork or falsework before beginning the project in the first place
  • There is a need for a mathematical analysis of the functional requirements of both formwork and falsework to grant access requirements. Other notable requirements may include fall protection live and dead loads as well as the maximum height
  • Summon a meeting with every other worker on-site to sample their opinions about any potential problem you may have overlooked. Their submission may be according to their perception and anticipation of risks and hazards of the construction work. They should also relate it to the formwork or falsework in particular, in terms of inspection, operation, transport, repair, maintenance, and storage of essential facilities
  • Review all maintenance, incident, inspection, and injury records for previous projects to project similar incidents and device ways of preventing the occurrence of such hazards

Assess the Risks

After you have accurately covered the identity of possible risks in every possible way, it is time to assess the risks’ extent. In addition, the identified risks should be not only identifiable but also measurable by professional risk assessors. In some situations, the associated risks and control measures are determinable from the onset. The preparation can add to the overall competence of the contractor company. These risk-mitigation strategies also cater to the workers’ safety protocols and set the proper control measures for consideration. All these strategies also have the actual time when they are to be taken into consideration. 

Setting the control measures in place

After an accurate assessment, we should also minimize or utterly eliminate the associated risks for the project. The control measures should also be according to the Workplace Health and Safety Laws that already set a clear standard on handling each type of risk. Also, the outline or guide clearly measures dangers in order of weight and the control measures from the highest to the lowest. 

Some perceived control measures may not be as easy as they sound. However, enough attempts should be in place to ensure that all the workers know their roles and take all the safety protocols. For instance, a risk control method may suggest moving scaffolding away from electrical lines. So, all the workers should do what the safety protocol or risk control means, rather than proceeding with the risk in place. At times, the supervisor’s role may include enforcing some safety protocols or risk control methods.

Monitor and measure the control measures 

Managing the Risks of Formwork and Falsework

When you set control measures in place, there should also be a monitoring time to check and review adherence to the laws. This monitoring is particularly important on-site. The project is still ongoing to ensure that no change to the construction site eventually leads to a costly hazard. Apart from the physical changes to the construction site, there may also be other changes to the nature of the work or planned mandate about the operation system. All these items are crucial to the eventual delivery and contribute immensely to the safe final output. 


On a final note, stakeholders must always note that there may always be inherent risks in the construction process of formworks and falseworks, mainly on-site. Therefore, despite fulfilling all the officially acceptable safety requirements, the project should also cater to the response team in case of any unforeseen circumstance. The professional method of risk management also requires an expert to be on the ground at all times. 

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