Working at height in any environment can pose a significant health and safety risk, but when you're working on a scaffold tower, there are some additional risks that you need to be aware of.
Pictured: Super DIY Heavy Duty Tower with Height Adjustable Wheels
Of course, falling from a scaffold tower can result in life-changing injuries, but falling isn't the only risk you need to consider when working on a scaffold tower. Dropped objects, faulty scaffolding, and even the weather can potentially create all sorts of workplace hazards.
Today, we're going to share some invaluable scaffold tower safety tips so that you can work from height in the safest way possible!
Disclaimer: We can't account for every problem you might encounter while working on a scaffold tower. Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines when erecting your scaffold tower, and seek the help of a professional if you have any questions.
Use appropriate PPE
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is what we call the accessories and equipment that people use to stay safe when working at height or in other potentially dangerous situations. Good quality PPE can genuinely be the difference between life and death
PPE comes in many different forms, and not all of it will be applicable to someone working on a scaffold tower, but there are a few key things you should try and acquire before you start working at height. These include:
- Protective eyewear (e.g. goggles)
- A hard hat or safety helmet
- A suitable fall arrest system
- A safety harness
- Hi-vis clothing
- Ear plugs / ear defenders
- Tool lanyards
Did you know we actually have a sister company that offers a wide range of products to help you work at height safely? Safety Harness Direct was launched to offer professionals and climbing enthusiasts access to the best height safety equipment from a range of reputable brands. It's great having this company working alongside Ladders UK Direct because it means we can offer everything you need to work safely on a scaffold tower.
Visit Safety Harness Direct >
Inspect the scaffold tower for damage
One of the most important scaffold tower safety measures is making sure the tower itself is fit for use. If you've been keeping your scaffold tower in storage for a long time, it may have become damaged and worn, or you may have misplaced key screws / fastenings that are needed to erect the scaffold tower safely.
That's why it's absolutely vital to carry out an inspection of your scaffold tower before work begins. If you suspect there's any damage to the scaffold tower, do not use it! The risks involved with using a faulty scaffold tower could be fatal, so don't take the risk. You wouldn't use a faulty ladder or a faulty angle grinder, so don't use a faulty scaffold tower either!
If you have noticed that your scaffold tower kit is faulty or incomplete, don't worry - here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of scaffold towers that can be used to complete all sorts of jobs. Whether you're a homeowner looking to complete a challenging DIY job or a construction worker seeking a scaffold tower for professional use, we've got something to suit you.
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Be wary of the weather
If you're working on a scaffold tower, you're probably working outside, and that factor brings with it several hazards of its own. After all, the British weather is notoriously unpredictable - one minute we're enjoying the sunshine, the next it's raining cats and dogs!
Rain and wind can be particularly troublesome when working on a scaffold tower. Rain can make the scaffold platform slippery, making you more likely to slip and fall - or drop something on those below you. Strong winds can make it difficult to remain stable while working on top of a scaffold tower, and may even cause nearby trees or powerlines to fall, so be aware of any nearby hazards when you're setting up.
One great way to make sure you've weighed up all the possible hazards is by carrying out a risk assessment. These are mandatory on professional construction sites, but often get overlooked when people are using scaffold towers in domestic settings. Carrying out a risk assessment could save your life, so don't miss this important scaffold safety step before you get to work!
How safe are scaffold towers?
While many people are injured due to accidents on scaffold towers every year, having the right equipment and procedures in place will dramatically reduce your risk of a scaffold tower accident.
For maximum safety, scaffold towers should always be:
- Checked thoroughly before use
- Erected by someone competent
- Used only by people with the right health and safety training
When used correctly, a scaffold tower's platform can be a safe and spacious place to carry out work at height.
Do you have to wear a safety harness on a scaffold tower?
Guidelines from the construction industry indicate that people should wear a safety harness when working on a scaffold that is more than 4 metres above the ground. Falling from this height without the proper fall protection equipment could be quite serious!
If you have edge protection around the scaffold tower, the requirements might be slightly different, but you should always confirm what's required with the on-site manager. We'd always recommend that you wear a safety harness to provide you with that extra layer of protection and security.
More scaffold tower safety tips
Finally, here are a few more scaffold safety tips that you should keep in mind before using a scaffold tower. Please bear in mind that these might not all be applicable to your situation, but they will help you work on most scaffold towers safely.
- Make sure everyone using the scaffold tower has undergone relevant health and safety training.
- Check that the leg braces on your scaffold tower are secured properly.
- Ensure that the planks and boards that make up the scaffold tower are both level and secure.
- Remove any items from the scaffold tower that aren't being used. This eliminates unnecessary risk.
- Always consult with a professional if you have questions about the scaffold tower you are using. Don't take any chances!
So there you have it: a scaffold tower safety guide that should help you work safely at height. If you have any questions about the scaffold towers we offer, please feel free to contact the Ladders UK Direct team.
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