Scaffolding – Be Safe

Scaffolding – Be Safe

22nd July 2014

A scaffolding tower is the perfect access solution for work that needs to be done at height and is a much more convenient method of access than a ladder.  A scaffold allows workers to work freely without balancing on a ladder and also has room for all the tools and equipment necessary for the task at hand.  Scaffolding towers are ideal for jobs like painting and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor work.  When working in a stairwell, a scaffolding tower is much safer and easier to use than a ladder.

There are several advantages to using a scaffolding tower rather than a ladder:

  • The risk of slipping is practically eliminated
  • A scaffolding tower enables work to be done on a larger area, meaning they don’t need to be moved along so often
  • A scaffolding tower has space for the tools and materials needed for the job so you don’t need to keep climbing back down to get more equipment

However, there are still safety issues that will need to be considered when using a scaffolding tower – don’t cut corners as far as health and safety is concerned just because you’re not on a ladder.

  • Make sure the scaffolding tower is suitable for the task at hand – make sure it complies with BS EN 1004 standard.
  • Make sure that the people who are responsible for erecting the scaffolding tower are competent and have been properly trained – there are many reported cases of injury every year when people fall from towers or towers overturn.
  • When erecting the scaffolding tower, make sure it is resting on firm, level ground and that the castors or base plates of the tower are properly supported.
  • Never erect a scaffolding tower that is taller than the height recommended by its manufacturer.
  • Never erect or use a scaffolding tower in high winds – working at height in windy conditions is particularly dangerous, especially if there are strong gusts.
  • Never use a scaffolding tower as a support for ladders, trestles or other access equipment.
  • Never use a scaffolding tower that has broken or missing component parts.
  • Never use a scaffolding tower with incompatible components.
  • Never move a scaffolding tower with people, equipment or materials on it - everything should be removed and brought down from the tower before it is moved.

The UK Health and Safety Executive does not have UK standards covering scaffolding towers and relies on the Working at Height Regulations (WAHR) to promote safe practice.  However, most reputable manufacturers of scaffolding towers will apply for a product standard. 

Most scaffolding towers are fabricated from aluminium or steel, both of which are reliable and durable materials.  When buying a scaffolding tower, it’s vital that you consider carefully what it is to be used for and that it conforms to BS EN1004 standard.