When it comes to working on any site, safety should always come first and attention must be paid to working at height where using a scaffold tower is a great way to prevent a fall.  According to the HSE’s annual ill health and injury statistics published on 2 November 2016, 137 workers were killed in 2016 of which 20 were while working at height.

 

Key Points

The scaffold tower chosen to work on must be suitable for the work and erected and dismantled by people who have been trained and are competent to do so.  There are many organisations that provide training for the safe erection and use of scaffold towers.

Those using scaffold tower should be trained in the possible dangers and precautions to take during use.

The scaffold tower used must be properly managed and include rigorous scaffold inspection arrangements.

All towers must be inspected following assembly and then at suitable regular intervals by a competent person.  In addition, if the tower is used for construction work and a person could fall 2 metres or more from the working platform, then it must be inspected following assembly and then every 7 days.  Stop work if the inspection shows it is not safe to continue, and put right any faults.  The result of an inspection should be recorded and kept until the next inspection is recorded.

 

Main Dangers

Not following the manufacturers erection and dismantling instructions correctly.  The manufacturer and supplier has a duty to provide an instruction manual explaining the erection sequence, including any bracing requirements.

That the scaffold tower is assembled incorrectly with missing parts such as platform guardrail.  They can collapse if sections are left out.

Misusing the scaffold tower, never move a tower while people or materials are on the tower, or in windy conditions

 

Always ensure…

the scaffold tower is resting on firm, level ground with the locked castors or base plates properly supported.

that stabilisers or outriggers are installed when required by the instruction manual

you push or pull using manual effort from the base only

a tower is never erected to a height above that recommended by the manufacturer.

when moving a scaffold tower that the height is reduced to a maximum of 4m

you check that there are no power lines or other obstructions overhead

Never use a scaffold tower….

in strong winds

as a support for ladders, trestles or other access equipment

with broken or missing parts or with incompatible components

 

We’ve put together this guide of essential scaffolding safety tips, so you can work in total safety.

  • Build a stable base – When you’re building your scaffolding, ensure that you’re building on stable, firm ground. Never use bricks or building blocks to take the weight of any part of the tower.
  • Install a guardrail – It’ll mean a slightly longer set up, but installing a guardrail will prevent anyone accidentally stepping or slipping off the edge of the platform. An additional benefit of a guardrail is that safety harnesses aren’t required.
  • Adopt a three-point grip – Climbing ladders can be dangerous, so always ensure that you’ve got three points of grip when you’re climbing your scaffolding. That can be two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot, but three points of grip is absolutely vital.
  • Invest in the right footwear – It should go without saying, but climbing on top of scaffolding without the right footwear is exceptionally foolish. Strong, sturdy safety boots are required when working, to ensure proper footing and, therefore, great safety.
  • Always wear a safety helmet – Never be without a safety helmet when using a scaffold tower. Ensuring the correct procedures and health & safety requirements are adhered to is vital but accidents can always happen, a safety helmet can help to reduce any injury.
  • Organise your tools carefully – Keeping tools in the floor next to you might be convenient, but it can also be extremely dangerous should you trip on them or accidentally knock them off. That’s why we recommend either investing in a dedicated tool tray, to keep your tools within arm’s reach but away from your feet.
  • Replace old scaffold tower – The longer scaffold tower is in use, the higher the chance that your scaffolding will fail. We’ve seen everything from cracked steel to cupped base plates fundamentally compromise the safety of your scaffolding. That goes for both professional and domestic scaffold towers so don’t hesitate if you need to buy a replacement.  See our fantastic range of scaffold towers professional scaffold towers.

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