Scaffolding Towers – Are They Being Used Safely?

Scaffolding Towers – Are They Being Used Safely?

14th August 2014

Scaffolding towers represent an ideal solution when it comes to working at height.  They are more stable and safer than ladders as they allow workers to work freely with their tools and materials without having to do a dangerous balancing act on a ladder. 

However when you position a ladder, there is always a risk of slipping and falling from a height – this makes a scaffolding tower a much safer option than a ladder, especially for larger or more time-consuming tasks.

Scaffolding towers are designed to be used on larger jobs such as painting or when you need access to larger areas of work such as stairwells.  They can be used both indoors and outdoors, so they are the ideal choice in many situations where a ladder just doesn’t cut it.  A scaffolding tower can also save time in the long run as it will not need to be repositioned as often as a ladder as it offers access to a much larger work area than a ladder does.

However, there are still risks involved in using scaffolding towers and we’re taking a look at some of the issues that need to be considered before using one.

  • The first task is to ensure that the scaffolding tower chosen is suitable for the task at hand.  Most scaffolding towers are fabricated from aluminium or steel, both great materials that ensure both durability and reliability.  You’ll need to make sure that the scaffolding tower complies with the BS EN 1004 standard, which is the basic safety standard that governs scaffolding towers.
  • Those who are tasked with erecting a scaffolding tower should always be fully trained in this type of work.  Although towers may seem safer to use than ladders, there are still many injuries every year caused by workers falling from towers or by scaffolding towers overturning in use.
  • It’s vital to ensure that the scaffolding tower is resting on level firm ground and that the base or castors are fully supported.
  • Any stabilizers or outriggers used should always be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure that the scaffolding tower has not been erected to exceed the height recommended by the manufacturer.
  • All scaffolding towers should be inspected by a trained, competent person once they have been erected and should not be used until the go-ahead has been given.  The inspection results should be recorded and kept until the next inspection is recorded.
  • When moving a scaffolding tower along, its height needs to be reduced to a maximum of 4 metres.
  • The scaffolding tower should be moved by pulling or pushing from the base only.
  • Never move a scaffolding tower if people, equipment, materials or tools are still on it – make sure the tower is completely “empty” before moving.
  • Never use or move a scaffolding tower in windy conditions.
  • All workers who are expected to use a scaffolding tower should have undergone the requisite training for working at height.