Erecting and Using a Scaffold Tower Safely

A scaffold tower is a very useful piece of equipment on building and construction sites. When the need to operate at a height for a long period of time emerges, these towers provide a safe and efficient way of doing so. They are relatively straightforward to put together, can be easily relocated from one position to another and can provide a much safer and more efficient means of reaching work at heights onsite.

Of course, even with the highest quality scaffold tower, working from a height does pose risks of falling, and if the scaffold tower hasn't been properly erected or isn't used correctly, the risk factor is increased. So we have compiled a list of pointers on erecting and using your scaffold tower correctly and compliantly.

Safety checks on your Scaffold Tower

A thorough check of the scaffold tower for any signs of cracks, damage or missing components must be undertaken every time they are assembled. The pre-use examination is a must before anyone erects or uses the scaffold tower to work at height. 

According to the regulations for working at heights, scaffold towers should only be erected and used by a ‚Äúcompetent person‚ÄĚ, and a scaffolding ticket is required for the use of scaffolds with a working height at 5m or above.¬† A toeboard is required on all scaffolds where an object can fall more than 2 metres, and towers must be stabilised with outriggers (or be securely attached to a solid support surface) when the height to width ratio is more than 3:1.

Ensure those who will work on or around the scaffold tower are aware of the safety procedures and hazards that may be present with having the tower onsite before the equipment is used. In addition to the obvious risk of a user falling from the scaffold, hazards may include overhead power lines or risk of tools or other items falling from the scaffold.  Keeping the surrounding worksite tidy will also reduce the risk of trips on items left around the scaffold when climbing down from the unit.

Ensuring safety when working on your scaffold tower

Before use, ensure the tower is sitting on a stable surface and that the casters are securely locked. Mobile towers must not be moved while any person is on it, and ladders must access the work platform from within the footprint of the tower.

Any minor scaffold with a platform height of more than 1 metre must use guardrails, and some site-specific regulations or hazards present may require the use of guardrails regardless of height. The guardrails must only be removed from the side of a scaffold if it is within 300mm of the working face adjacent to the scaffold.

For long-term use of the assembled tower, regular safety checks must be made when the scaffold tower is to be used onsite. This will ensure that the tower remains as safe as it was just after its assembly. This will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries befalling the workers who use a scaffold tower, as well as those in its close vicinity. If you notice something wrong during one of your regular checks, work must cease immediately and until the problem has been resolved.

Easy Access can provide you and your team with free onsite training on the safe and compliant erection and use of Easy Access H Frame, Minor Mobile or MOBI towers, or any of our range height access equipment. Talk to the team at Easy Access about a visit to your site on 0800 394 222 or send an email to sales@easyaccess.co.nz.