5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using Scaffold Towers
Posted on 4th May, 2018 | By Lorretta Tatham
As long as they’re utilised correctly, scaffold towers can be incredibly useful aids for working at height. They’re particularly ideal for jobs that require working at height for extended periods of time, as continually using a ladder for hours at a time is both uncomfortable and generally not advisable. However, if scaffold towers are used irresponsibly – whether that’s a result of time pressure or wilful negligence – they can open up their users and those in the surrounding area to extreme physical risk.
Here are five of the most common mistakes our experts often see from workers using scaffold towers:
- Using other objects to gain height
- Working at height in strong winds
- Moving in a careless manner atop the tower
- Forgetting or ignoring the safe work load
- Using a cheap scaffold tower
So, let’s look at these issues in a little more detail – and how you can avoid these pitfalls!
1. Don’t Use Other Objects To Gain Extra Height
Whether it’s a ladder or a scaffold tower, ascending and descending from your access equipment can be relatively time-consuming. With that in mind, we can certainly understand the temptation to use nearby objects to gain a little extra height, such as a chair or plastic box. But while we understand the temptation, that doesn’t mean we condone you giving into it! Even trusted access equipment – like a sturdy stepladder – is designed to be used on ground, not atop an access tower. It can leave you in literally a very precarious position, and that’s not to mention the unpredictability of using random items like chairs or boxes. Don’t take the risk!
2. Avoid Using a Scaffold Tower In Strong Winds
Now, obviously we’re not saying that scaffold towers aren’t designed to stand up against strong winds – that’s usually factored into their construction! However, as a general rule it’s simply unsafe to carry out work at height in strong winds, so it’s a good idea to use your common sense when the weather picks up. Always use caution, and postpone your task if the winds become too strong. Not only could the strength of the wind alone potentially knock you off balance, but it could send small objects like stones, branches and grit flying at you during a particularly crucial moment. Falls from height has been the most common cause of fatal injury to workers over the last five years – don’t join these statistics!
3. Be Careful Moving Around Atop Scaffold Towers
Compared with ladders, it can be easy to see scaffold towers as being even more stable and sturdy, but don’t take it as a blanket assurance that they’ll tolerate too much punishment. They’re designed to support the weight of a standing person making careful, deliberate movements, so try and avoid exposing them to any sudden impacts – for example by jumping up and down on them, or dropping anything onto them from any sort of height.
4. Bear In Mind The Safe Workload For Scaffolding Towers
On a similar note, scaffold towers have their safe work load just like ladders do, so be careful not to exceed this. Taking more people, equipment or material onto the ladder than it’s explicitly designed to support can obviously open you up to severe risk – though thankfully, it’s one that most people manage to avoid. Slightly less obviously, make sure you don’t use the scaffold tower to store material or equipment for long periods of time, as this can potentially gradually weaken the platform. It can also expose those below to the possibility of injury should any tools or material fall.
5. Don’t Buy Cheap Scaffolding Towers
We all naturally want to save money wherever we can – but when it comes to access equipment, you should always invest a little more. In fact, recently on the blog we outlined why you should always invest in a quality ladder, and it boils down to the same principle, which is that if you’re entrusting your life to it, you should never settle for a budget product.
Here at Browns Ladders, our professionals are experts in the best ways to get the most out of your access equipment, which is why we run a number of dedicated training courses. These includes Scaffold Tower Training Courses, so if you want to get the best out of your purchase it’s well worth thinking about booking a place! You can do so by clicking the link above, or giving us a call on 01282 615517.