How not to use a scaffold tower

There is plenty of information out there on how BEST to use a scaffold tower, but has anyone ever told you how NOT to use a scaffold tower?

It may seem obvious, but some of these gaffes below will make you snigger if nothing else. Never under estimate peoples stupidity when it comes to making use of a scaffold tower!

However, some of the tips are actually quite useful, do you know how strong the wind needs to blow before you stop work for example? Also did you know that the type of work you carry out on a scaffold tower affects its stability?

From the sublime to the ridiculous – scaffold tower safety addressed

  •  Use leg adjusters correctly

Using leg adjusters incorrectly like in the picture below is a big no-no! Hopefully the answer why is obvious. Ensure the leg adjusters maintain a level stability of your scaffold tower. Improper use creates a tilting hazard.

scaffold tower leg

 

 

 

 

 

  • Do not use boxes or other objects to gain additional height

Always ensure you are able to reach the required height with your scaffold tower. Never place any objects upon it in order to gain additional height.

dangerous scaffold towers

 

 

 

 

  • Never bridge the gap

Always resist the temptation to stride from your scaffold tower onto a building. Never do this unless this is an approved access route. Doing the splits at height is not a good idea!

bridging the gap

 

 

 

 

 

  • Never jump onto platforms

Doing the leap of faith is never recommended in the world of Health and Safety. Never jump directly onto platforms or any part of your scaffold tower. You could fall or cause instability on the scaffold tower.

never jump onto platforms

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Tie your tower if possible when working outside or in exposed conditions

To protect yourself against extremes in weather, tie your tower to a rigid structure if possible whilst you are working. It protects against embarrassing scenarios like this….and you’ll be keeping the neighbours happy too!

tie tower to a rigid structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Beware of the funnel effect

The funnel effect caused by wind passing through an enclosed space has caught many scaffold tower users off guard. Take care if you’re working in confined spaces and building sites. Do not work in windy conditions as could cause injury and stability issues.

Funnel effect

 

 

 

  • Do not exceed the safe working load of the scaffold tower

Don’t forget to take account of your materials and equipment you will need on your scaffold tower. Don’t store heavy materials such as tiles or cement un-necessarily, exceeding the safe working load of your scaffold tower will lead to uneasy situations like this.

safe working load

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Beware of horizontal forces from your equipment

Working safely goes beyond safe erection of your tower. Ensure that your tools will not create a horizontal force. The sheer power from jet washes and power tools could throw you backwards and in extreme cases the scaffold tower with it.

horizonal forces

 

 

 

 

 

  • Scaffold towers are not designed to be suspended

Need we say more? Always keep your scaffold tower on the ground. Never work on it while it’s suspended. In fact never suspend it ever!

suspended scaffold tower

 

 

 

 

 

  • Beware of live apparatus and overhead cables

Remember metal conducts electricity so take care when carrying out electrical work using aluminium and steel scaffold towers. In addition take care when repositioning your scaffold tower and keep a look out for overhead power cables.

beware of power lines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Do not lift an assembled scaffold tower from the ground

Never attempt to lift a scaffold tower from the ground that is fully assembled. Parts could fall causing death or serious injury. If a scaffold tower needs to be moved a reasonable distance, it will need to be taken down and reassembled in the required location. Never move a scaffold tower whilst people are working on it.

fall-FROM-HEIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still unsure on safe usage of a scaffold tower?

Here at BPS Access Solutions, we recommend that you undertake appropriate training before using a scaffold tower if you do not feel confident in it’s use. In the workplace, it is illegal not to have received training in the safe use and working practice when using scaffold towers.

Always stay safe and never take risks using either ladders or scaffold towers.



Ladders and Scaffold Towers are a Leading UK Distributor of Ladders, Loft Ladders, Scaffold Towers, Aluminium Ladders, Extension Ladders , Ladder Accessories and all access equipment.

What size extension ladder do I need?

12_Rung_Extension_Ladder

A popular question we get asked often in our customer services department is how to work out the right size of extension ladder.

Identifying the correct size of extension ladder is a relatively straight forward task. Putting that aside, however, it is still imperative that the right size of extension ladder is used in order to avoid ladder trips, slips and falls.

Finding the right size in simple terms

If you need a rough guesstimate then you can simply drop a tape measure out of your window. Some people simply measure the ceilings in their home and add another 50-100cm to allow for the ladder pitch and depth of ceiling.

Here at BPS Access Solutions, we highly recommend that you measure correctly to ensure that the extension ladder you purchase is suitable for the job and most importantly of all will not cause a serious injury or worse by incorrect usage.

How to measure for a standard 2 floor house

To measure the length of extension ladder required on a 2 floor house, you can use a very simple formula.

Do you remember the Pythagoras Theorem from your school days? The formula to use is very similar although thankfully it won’t require you to re-learn all the terminology!

Imagine that (a) is your house wall and (b) is the ground on which the ladder will be sitting. The pitch of the extension ladder will make up (c.) If the pitch is too long the ladder will be sitting at a dangerous angle and if too short your ladder will not be long enough to reach the job.

Thankfully our extension ladders here at BPS come in 3 sections, so you only need to use the sections that are needed which allow for greater versatility of jobs. We do suggest ensuring you can reach the top of your house though with your extension ladders.

Getting the pitch of the extension ladder right

The average 2 floor house will be just over 6 metres in height. This means that the base of the ladder must be placed just over 1.5 metres away from the base of the house wall. The top of the ladder must extend beyond the roof edge by approximately 90cm.

If the ladder pitch is not correct, there is a serious risk of the ladder slipping or tipping away from the wall when in use.

Our ladders are amongst the safest on the market today and we promote safe use of ladders to ensure your safety when in use.

How to calculate what size extension ladder you will need

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that ladders need to be at an angle of 75 degrees away from the wall. This is known as the 1 in 4 rule. To get the angle right, you will need to know how far off the ground your roof is.

So assuming our measurements for the 2 floor house – 6 M in height with a Base of 1.5M we then need to use the Pythagoras Theorem to work out the ladder length. You need to square (a) and (b) to get (c.)

  • So 6 x 6 + (1.5 x 1.5) [a + b]
  • 6 x 6 = 36 1.5 x 1.5 = 2.25
  • 36 + 2.25 = 38.25 [c]
  • Square root of 38.25 is 6.20 approximately. Add approximately 1 more metre (for ease) to account for additional extension beyond the roof edge, which means you would need a ladder of just over 7m in height.

Things to look out for

Common mistakes that are made with extension ladder length include

 

  • Forgetting to account for dips in the ground

The Pythagoras Theorem calculation assumes flat ground. In reality the ground has dips and bumps in it. Always ensure your ladder will still be long enough. It is better to have a longer ladder than to scrimp on the length. If there are any doubts, you could use a spirit level to determine the difference in ground levels or better still use a ladder leveller which will ensure your ladder is level on the ground.

 

  • Beware of two section extension ladders

Bare in mind that the higher up an extension ladder you go, the more wobbly it gets. This is why at BPS Access Solutions we eliminate ‘the wobble’ by having a three section extension ladder. Not only does this enable you to complete jobs at a lower level, it is also easier to store due to the compact size it folds down to.

 

  • Check the weight rating of the ladder

For maximum comfort and safety, always ensure the ladder is suitable for your weight before purchase. Our ladders have a massive weight rating of 150kg, however they are still lightweight and easy to put up and down.

Remember a ladder from BPS Access Solutions will last for many years to come. Make sure the extension ladder will fully suit your needs before purchase.

 



Ladders and Scaffold Towers are a Leading UK Distributor of Ladders, Loft Ladders, Scaffold Towers, Aluminium Ladders, Extension Ladders , Ladder Accessories and all access equipment.