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28 Mar 2023

scaffold tower licences

When it comes to using scaffold towers on a highway, there's certain legislation that you need to adhere to. This is not only for your own safety but for the safety of the general public and passers-by. If anyone could whip up a scaffold tower and start using it, there'd be a whole lot of health and safety risks at play. The Highways Act 1980 states that regardless of whether a scaffold tower will be used long or short-term, a licence for the placement of it must be obtained from the Highway Authority.

This rule applies to all types of scaffold towers, both fixed and mobile, so regardless of the type of scaffold tower you buy, it's important you understand that you'll need a licence in order to use it. If you're not going to be using a scaffold tower on a highway (for example in your own back garden) then this legislation may not apply to you. Always check with a qualified professional if you are unsure whether or not you need a licence to use a scaffold tower in a particular space. 

What is a "highway"?

While there isn't a hard and fast definition of a highway, you should consider anywhere that members of the public can access as a highway. So, if you're planning to erect a scaffold tower in any of the following places, then you should obtain a scaffold tower licence before you get to work:

  • Carriageway
  • Verge
  • Public footpath
  • Bridleway
  • Cycle path

Can you use a scaffold tower without PASMA?

If you're applying for a licence to use a scaffold tower in a public space, then yes, you will need to provide evidence of an appropriate level PASMA certificate. If you don't have a PASMA certificate, then you may be able to provide evidence of suitable competence in a different way, as long as it's in line with the Work at Height Regulation 2005.

The people who need to be PASMA certified (or able to prove their competency) in order to use a scaffold tower include anyone who's designing, assembling, dismantling, supervising or inspecting the scaffold tower. Evidence of competency should be provided during the application process for a scaffold tower licence, and you may be refused a licence if you cannot provide suitable evidence of competency. Scaffold tower users don't legally need to have a PASMA certificate, but they are recommended for your own safety.

A scaffold tower licence will be required if you want to work on a highway (as we've described above), however, the rules aren't quite as strict for personal or home use of scaffold towers. Again, if you're unsure whether you need PASMA certification for an upcoming job, we recommend speaking to a trained professional.

Regardless of whether you have a PASMA certificate or not, if you're working on a scaffold tower, you must adhere to the working-at-height regulations set out by the HSE. This is to protect you and minimise the risk of personal injury. Learn more about scaffold tower safety below.

Read More: Scaffold Tower Safety | How to Work Safely on a Scaffold Tower

Do I need training to use a scaffold tower?

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we always recommend that you do some level of training to equip you to use your chosen scaffold tower. Whether you're working on an industrial scaffold tower, a mobile scaffold tower, or some other type of scaffold tower, you will need to be able to erect, check, use and dismantle your scaffold tower in a competent fashion. Untrained persons who deal with scaffold towers could miss a vital step in the erection process, or fail to carry out the necessary safety checks, resulting in a serious injury. 

A lot of the information around the safe use of scaffold towers can be found online nowadays, so if you're completely new to using scaffold towers, we'd recommend you start here. If you're going to be using a small mobile scaffold tower to complete work on your home, you might want to take a short training course to ensure you know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. Understanding the type of PPE you should be wearing is also a vital part of scaffold tower work, which a training course will be able to educate you on. 

For those of you who are working on a scaffold tower in an industrial setting, training is essential. Larger scaffold towers carry potentially life-threatening risks, so it's vital that you know how to use them and how to support the people working around you too.

So, there you have it. If you've been wondering about the rules and regulations surrounding scaffold towers and scaffold tower licences, we hope this helps! As always, if you are unsure about whether you need a licence or training before starting a scaffold tower task, consult with a trained professional. In the meantime, take a look at some of the scaffold towers that we offer. 

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