It is legally required to work safely with scaffold towers. It is also an extremely critical way of avoiding nasty accidents. Assessments should be carried out before any worker steps foot on scaffold towers. This assessment should confirm that there is no alternative to working at height. It should also confirm that the most suitable equipment has been selected for the job in hand.
Workers need to be aware that aluminum and the thin-wall steel towers are relatively light. This can result in the towers overturning easily with incorrect use. To ensure the required core strength, all parts must be in their correct place. The danger associated with parts being left out is that the towers can collapse.
The Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ and Manufacturers’ Association has approved two methods for erecting the towers. They have been developed in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive. However, all manufacturers also have the duty to provide the instruction manual which explains the erection sequence and this should include any bracing requirements. The same applies to any organisations which hire the towers.
- Advance guard rail system make use of guard rail units which are specifically designed for the job. These guard rail units are locked in place form the level below and moved up onto the platform level. They provide collective fall prevention and are put in place before the operator accesses the platform in order to fit the permanent guard rails. It is the progressive erection of guard rails from the protected areas at the lower level which makes sure that the operator will not be exposed to the risk of falling from an un-guarded platform.
- “Through the trap” method involves the operator taking up a working position in the trap door of the platform. From this position he can add or remove the components which are acting as guard rails on the level above the platform. This method is designed to make sure that the operator does not stand on an un-guarded platform, yet can install the components to a particular level while he is positioned within the trap door of that level.
All operators must be trained in the health and safety aspects of ensuring that the scaffold towers are stable. They must also be fully trained in the use of the towers, as well as knowing about moving the towers. Before use, the scaffold towers must always be inspected by a competent person. Additionally extra safety precautions need to be taken when the work is being carried out in a public place. Finally all operators should be trained in the dismantling of towers.