Scaffolding Towers - How to Stay Safe

Scaffolding Towers - How to Stay Safe

15th March 2016

Working at height can be a dangerous business so it’s vital that you first assess the safest way of getting the job done before starting out.  If the working at height is likely to be over long or protracted periods, then you may want to look at working from a scaffolding tower or mobile work platform rather than using a ladder for access.

Ladder or Scaffolding Tower – What’s the Difference?

  • Even though both ladders and scaffolding towers can be used for carrying out work at height, a scaffolding tower is designed to be used on larger projects where working at height is the main requirement.
  • Ladders are generally designed to be used for shorter times whereas a scaffolding tower can be used for most of the working day.  A scaffolding tower offers more safety than a ladder does as it is a complete platform on which to stand.
  • There is no need to stand on one spot (one rung) for a long time which could lead to foot problems and tendon issues in the long term.  Workers on a scaffolding tower stand on a staging platform which provides a firm base for both feet, making standing easier and more comfortable.
  • A scaffolding tower has more room and will accommodate the tools and materials required for the job while using a ladder limits the amount of tools and materials than can be used at any one time.
  • A scaffolding tower also has much more room for workers to move around on, making them an ideal choice for painters and decorators.

Safety Considerations

When assembling a scaffolding tower it’s essential that the manufacturer’s instructions are followed exactly.  Always use the correct parts during assembly and never use sub-standard or jury-rigged components from another scaffolding tower.

Make sure that the scaffolding tower is certified for use for the purpose for which you are using it and conforms to EN1004 (European Trade Standard).

Most scaffolding towers are fabricated from steel or aluminium.  For quality and durability, steel is the best choice.  However, aluminium is a safe choice and has the advantage of being lightweight and easy to transport. 

If there is electrical work to be done, then a tower made from fibreglass is the safest choice as it will not conduct electricity.

If you’re a small to medium business and you need access to high places in order to do your job, then you might find that a scaffolding tower is a great long term investment.  It’s a far more flexible solution than a ladder and is likely to be useful for a much wider range of jobs and tasks.  Some of the smaller scaffolding towers that are available nowadays are lightweight and easy to move from one job to the next.  It’s also a much safer working platform for you to be using.  Instead of investing in a new ladder, why not invest in your safety and in your future by opting for a scaffolding tower.