5 ways to prevent unauthorised access to scaffolding

Scaffolding on any construction site can be hazardous but especially those that are in residential areas. Children could be drawn to the look of it perceiving it as a climbing frame and try to climb it and cause themselves an injury. Therefore, it is essential that workers prevent unauthorised access to the scaffolding at all times, not just when the site is empty as an incident could happen when they are there but out of sight.

This guide won’t be able to prevent everyone from getting onto a construction such as thieves, vandals or opportunistic wanderers who are determined to break through. However, hopefully it will give you an idea of some basic measures that can be taken that will provide some basic deterrence to those trying to get in on purpose as well as stopping people from stumbling through onto the scaffold site by accident.


1)   Carry out a site assessment

The level of security and what you need to best protect the site will be based on your location and the nature of the construction work being carried out. Therefore, a site assessment is needed to determine the best course of action for deterring people from entering. Some things you will want to consider during your assessment are

  • Whether the scaffold is inside a construction site or in a public area
  • Length of time the site will be closed for e.g. weekends, bank holidays etc
  • Number of access points
  • Level of privacy

There are a few more as well but this is just a brief example of what you should start considering.


2)   Install site perimeter fencing

Where it is practical to have it site perimeter fencing should be able to prevent unauthorised access to the scaffolding and general construction area. When installed the fencing should be continuous and fixed in place and where it changes form it meets another structure it must be properly secured to stop anyone squeezing through the gaps. The security of the site should be checked regularly and reviewed to ensure perimeter fencing is in good condition and order. Also, security must make sure that there are no materials e.g. skips, plants etc that can be stored or parked next to the site to assist a trespasser in climbing over the fencing.


3)   Remove ladders where possible

It is good practice to install internal ladders or a ladder tower so that each tower can be used for a single lift and it will be possible for the ground ladder to be removed after each shift making access more difficult. The ladder should then be stored securely in the compound or padlocked to the scaffold horizontally at each end to stop it being used. When a ladder is replaced it must be tied or clamped into position to prevent it from moving during use.


4)   Have ladder guards

Generally removing the ladders will give you better control than a ladder guard but guards are still a useful alternative option, when it is not practical to remove bottom lift ladders out of hours. The guard is a sturdy metal plate that hooks over and padlocks onto several rungs of the ladder to stop someone climbing it. When using ladder guards here are a few things to note to ensure you are using them correctly

  • They must be firmly locked in place, no rope lashing
  • They must make each rung unstable to prevent climbing
  • They should cover at least 6 rungs
  • If handles are fitted, they shouldn’t be able to provide an alternative foothold


5)   Other controls

The site risk assessment should consider a range of appropriate actions that can be taken to prevent unauthorised access. There are many examples of situations where the risk of unauthorised access to a scaffold or construction site is high are the use of

  • CCTV
  • CCTV with active monitoring
  • Security personnel on site or doing patrols


Hopefully, these measures will be able to deter anyone from entering your site. If you are looking for a new scaffolding tower or any type of ladder have a look at our selection on our website or get in touch and one of our team will answer your queries.

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