The Scaffold Tower: An Important Resource for Both Tradesmen and DIYers

Have you ever tried to wash windows or paint trim on a building’s second storey? If so, it’s certain that this experience has taught you that it isn’t an easy task, especially if you’re using a ladder. In fact, it’s not safe, and may lead to an accident or injury. So, what’s the alternative? A scaffold tower often can be the right choice. Many homeowners and tradesmen have used them successfully to perform all sorts of maintenance and DIY tasks. Interested? Well, there are several important points you should clearly understand before using or buying one of these useful items. In this post, we’ll explain what you need to know about employing scaffold towers in both a safe and successful way. Read on to learn more.

The Scaffold Tower: Key Features

If you’ve decided to shop for a scaffold tower, then there’s plenty to consider. It’s important to be well informed about them, because this will ensure that you acquire one that has all the features you need.  When considering scaffold towers, be sure that the one you choose allows you to work in complete safety. An unsafe or improperly deployed tower inevitably will lead to serious problems and possibly even injuries. One consideration is to ensure that scaffold towers have a stable base, which allows users to work at height in a safe and secure manner. Most quality scaffold towers come with safety features, such as outriggers or stabiliser bars, which ensure precise deployment. While not necessary, it’s a good idea to choose a tower with colour-coded components, since this will facilitate correct assembly. Here’s more information about scaffold towers.

More About the Scaffold Tower

Although scaffold towers are widely employed in trade and industrial applications, many DIYers and domestic users find them quite useful as well. In any work at height scenario, all alternatives should be explored to determine whether it’s absolutely necessary to deploy a tower. If this is the case, then the next step is choosing the most appropriate size and type. Scaffold towers, when they’re used properly, provide what can be the best alternative for working at height. Remember that when accidents occur, very often they’re caused by user error, rather than defects in the tower, such as faulty assembly or misuse. Most accidents and injuries related to scaffold towers are preventable, if the right safety and health practices are followed. Scaffolding towers can be made from steel or aluminium. Aluminium towers often are preferred because they’re light in weight. So it’s especially important to ensure that an aluminium tower is assembled correctly because this lends the maximum amount of strength to the structure. If necessary, review the guidelines and publications that come from both the Health and Safety Executive and the tower’s manufacturer. An instruction manual for the tower should be kept on site and such a manual should include both bracing requirements, as well as the assembly sequence.

Further Highlights of the Scaffold Tower

Even if the tower is hired, it must conform to all relevant rules and procedures. This is particularly true for the assembly method.  One feature to look for on quality scaffold towers is a guard rail system specifically designed for that particular model. It’s important never to substitute parts, such as guard rails, from other models of towers on the one you’re currently assembling or using unless specified and compatable.  Guard rails should be locked in place from the seated position on a platform. This assembly process makes sure that workers never stand on an unprotected platform, which means they’re protected from falls and accidents, yet can safely install the tower’s necessary components.  Once the tower is assembled, a thorough safety inspection should be performed before using it.

Types of Scaffold Tower

Independent scaffold towers are fitted with base plates.  Such a structure is usually stabilised by attaching it to a nearby wall.  These towers are useful for working on a specific area of a wall or structure.  Mobile scaffold towers, however, are more versatile.  These towers are fitted with castors on the legs and so are easy to move and reposition as needed. Unlike the independent tower, this type doesn’t need to be disassembled, moved and then reassembled. This means that a great deal of time is saved.  Mobile scaffold towers also are known as multi-purpose scaffolding, rolling scaffolding, portable scaffolding, and wheeled scaffolding.  Scaffold towers made from glass fibre are also necessary when working around electrical sources, since they won’t generate a spark or conduct a current.Interestingly, in Asia, bamboo is a popular material for scaffolding. It has the added benefit of being biodegradable and inexpensive.

When using a scaffold tower, it’s important to choose the right one and assemble it properly.

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.

Scaffold Towers: Their History, Components and Use

Many people think that scaffolds and scaffold towers are a relatively modern development. Not so. Scaffolds were used in ancient Greece at least 500 years BC. Records of ancient cultures in Egypt, Nubia and China indicate that these cultures used scaffolds extensively. Many early African cultures made use of scaffolds. To reach the apex of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo designed his own scaffold, which was unique because instead of being deployed on the floor, he built his scaffold on brackets that were fitted into holes near the top of the chapel’s windows.

To facilitate work at height, a scaffold tower often is used instead of scaffolds. These are free-standing systems that are easy to move and adjust. A typical scaffold tower is fitted with castors that allow it to be moved. The castors lock securely into place when the tower is in use. Work platforms are accessed by an internal ladder system.

Scaffold Towers: Purpose, Structural and Safety Requirements

Scaffold towers are designed for long-duration work-at-height tasks. Their platforms are much more comfortable and safer to stand on than the rungs of a ladder. A major danger associated with standard ladders is overreaching, i.e., leaning too far to the left or right. To avoid overreaching, conventional ladders must be moved constantly, while the secure platform of a scaffold tower allows for greater reach without excessive and dangerous leaning. For information about the British standards for tower scaffolds, it’s wise to refer to the BS EN1004 standard.

Scaffold Towers: An Overview of Their Components

There are three major components of a scaffold tower: bars, frames and platforms. The bars and frames, which are usually made from aluminium or steel, provide the framework for the tower. Aluminium tubing is preferred because it’s light in weight and highly resistant to corrosion The bars are components that join the frame sections together. In many modern tower scaffolds, nuts and bolts are not needed, and a tower can be set up quickly by one or two workers. Once the tower structure is erected, the platforms that provide the tower’s working surface are fitted. These are made from seasoned wood, and come in a variety of thicknesses. Their length can vary, with the maximum being approximately 2.5m.  Other platform materials include steel, aluminium or laminate boards.

Scaffold Towers: Basic Components

A scaffold tower’s base section is one of its most important components. A solid and stable base unit means the tower will be safe for working at height for extended periods. Remember, though, that a scaffold tower’s base is only as stable as the surface on which it’s erected. That surface should be clean, dry and free of impediments. Although tempting, it’s never wise to use the cross braces to access a tower. Always use the tower’s integral ladder. One of the most important components of a scaffold tower is its bracing system. Always connect frames and panels with diagonal and / or crosswise braces. This will ensure that the vertical members are laterally and adequately braced.  Because the sections of the tower are stacked, it’s critical to use cross braces / bars to keep the structure square, level and plumb. Always secure brace connections to prevent them dislodging.

Scaffold Towers: More About Components

Every scaffold tower should be fitted with a guardrail system. In fact, standard rails are required on all towers. Install the rails at both ends of every platform and along all open sides of the structure. Always perform work from a platform, not from its ladder or other parts. Do ensure that the platform’s safe working load will accommodate both the worker and any tools and materials being used. In addition, platforms must be locked / secured to the horizontal bars in the frames to prevent dangerous uplift.

Scaffold Towers: The Importance of Regular Inspections

Before using a tower on a building site / industrial setting a competent, qualified person should perform a safety inspection. This is especially important for newly erected structures.  An inspection is also needed if there have been extensive alterations to the tower or if there has been an event that might compromise its integrity. If a tower is left in place for more than seven days, it’s wise to re-inspect it. If an inspection uncovers any parts or components of the tower that are deemed unsafe, the defect should be clearly marked. The tower should not be used until the condition is resolved by repair or replacement of the defective part. Only the manufacturer or a person designated by the manufacturer should be authorised to perform repair tasks.

Scaffold towers are the preferred access method for working at height for extended periods.

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.

Ladders: They’ve got history!

ladders Ladders are commonplace items that most of us take for granted. Did you know, though, that the ladder has a place in human history that dates back to the Mesolithic period, about 10,000 years ago? Cave paintings found in Valencia, Spain depict two people carrying baskets or bags. They’re using a long ladder to access a wild honeybee nest and raid it for its precious content of honey. The ladder as we know it in modern times was developed by the ancient Egyptians and ancient Hebrews.

Ladders: Forms and Types

The rigid ladder is the most common type. It was originally made from timber and in ancient times from plaited grass. A modern ladder can be crafted from timber, aluminium or glass fibre. Aluminium is a popular material for ladders because of its strength, durability and light weight. It’s not advisable to use an aluminium ladder when working around electrical sources, because aluminium will conduct an electric current. In this case, a glass fibre is the preferred choice, because it’s an electrical insulator. The rigid ladder comes in a variety of styles and sizes. A step ladder or platform step ladder is a popular choice, with the extension ladder running a close second. One remarkable type of ladder is the Multi Purpose model. This can be used as a workbench, free-standing ladder, stair ladder, stair platform ladder, stand-off ladder, gardening or painting platform, and double-sided step ladder.

Ladders: About the Step Type

The step ladder is perhaps the most popular model. In an important development, in January 1862, an American named John H. Balsley received the first patent in the US for this type of ladder. The step ladder is so named because the rungs are set in a stepped rather than a runged configuration. Before the patent, the step ladder was not foldable, but Balsey’s model was designed with hinges at the top that allowed users to fold the ladder for easy storage. Also called an A-frame, the step ladder is now used all over the world.

Ladders: A Few Comments on Safe Use

Before using a ladder, evaluate the surroundings in which you’ll be using it. Consider, as well, the area in which you plan to deploy the ladder and whether you’ve chosen the correct ladder for the task. Whether indoors or outdoors, a ladder always should be set up on a dry and level surface that’s firm and will not shift. Never deploy a ladder on top of another surface, such as a table, to gain additional height. If you’re setting up a ladder near a door, put a sign on the other side of the door warning that a ladder is in use. Outdoors, never use a ladder in high winds, rain, or if the ground appears slippery. Take stock of yourself before using a ladder. If, for example, you’re suffering from an ankle or foot injury, it’s wise to postpone projects that require climbing a ladder. If you’re suffering from an illness, such as a cold, that might affect your ability to climb and balance, don’t use a ladder until you’re feeling better. To use a step ladder properly, open it until it’s fully extended. Then use the locking mechanism to keep it correctly and safely deployed. Before you buy a ladder, take some time to determine what type is right for you. For most indoor home and DIY tasks, a step ladder is the best choice. If you need to reach the second storey of your home for painting or window washing, select an extension ladder of the correct height.

Ladders: Safety Considerations and Popular Models

Perhaps the most important safety issue to consider is the height you’ll need to reach when using a ladder. It’s important never to overreach by leaning sideways on a ladder – it’s essential to dismount and reposition the ladder so you can reach safely. Pay attention to a ladder’s maximum load rating, which is the combined weight of the user and any tools or materials being used or transported on the ladder. Due to the extensive range of ladder types available today, you should be able to find a safe, well-built ladder regardless of your budget. As mentioned earlier, the step ladder is the most popular type because it’s self-supporting. Straight and extension types are not self-supporting, which means they must be leaned against a stable vertical support surface, such as a wall. Extension models have a unique design in which two or three sections nest together. The second section (and if your ladder has a third section) can be raised and locked into place, which increases the ladder’s height significantly. The step ladder comes in a variety of models, including light-duty types for everyday tasks, medium-duty models for more complex projects and trade or industrial models. A step ladder with a height of about six feet is a good choice. For lighter, lower indoor tasks at home or in the office, a step stool is adequate. You also should consider storing a fire or rescue / escape ladder in strategic places around the home, such as in each bedroom.

Ladders: Selecting the Right One

It can be difficult to determine the correct height for a ladder because the entire length of a ladder cannot be used safely. So, you need to consider what’s called the usable height of the ladder. When using a straight or extension ladder, avoid standing on any of the top three rungs. This rule effectively eliminates two to three feet of height, so buy accordingly. An extension ladder needs three to five feet of overlap between the sections to ensure safe use. When using an extension ladder to reach a roof, it’s important that it extends three feet above the surface. In addition, remember that a straight or extension ladder must be leaned, and this reduces the ladder’s usable height.

Judiciously chosen ladders will serve homeowners, businesses and tradesmen safely and well.

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.