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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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