Beware Of ‘Used’ Scaffolding!

Beware Of ‘Used’ Scaffolding!

Officials are concerned over a dramatic rise
in the use of second hand scaffolding and trade towers which have
been imported to the United Kingdom from countries with lower
labour costs. While these imports have opened up doors to cheaper
trade materials and equipment for companies during the recession,
the quality, design, and safety of these goods is certainly
questionable.

Shockingly, it’s not the second hand nature
of these products that’s become the main cause of concern. In fact,
there’s quite a large used scaffolding industry in the UK, with
companies dedicated to refurbishing older tubes. What is causing
concern, however, is the manufacture of these towers. While the
scaffolding components are very similar to those produced locally,
there are two obvious differences – the tube joins, and the
materials.

Scaffolding produced in countries with lower
regulatory standards, such as Russia for example, will typically
have weaker tube joins and will almost always be painted rather
than being made from aluminium or galvanised steel. Galvanised
and aluminium towers are renowned for their
durability, while paint can easily blister and rust, compromising
the overall safety of the product. In countries with very high
industrial demand, the focus is on speed and cost, rather than
quality.

Regulatory standards abroad are hugely
different to those in the UK. Russian standards, for example, are divided
into two sections – mandatory and voluntary. While the mandatory
section relates to safety, many of the design specifications are
included in the voluntary section, which means manufacturers can
produce lower quality products whilst still meeting legal
requirements.

Some of the imported scaffolding being used
in the UK has been found to be so poorly made that nodding donkey
tests have caused complete breakages at the tube joins. Using badly
designed towers can have serious consequences, with the HSE
reporting that “defective and poorly erected scaffolding poses significant
risks
to both construction workers and members of the public
and each year a high number of people are killed and seriously
injured as a consequence of poor standards being adopted by the
industry”.

If you’re looking for inexpensive
scaffolding, don’t be tempted to purchase dodgy products – it’s not
worth the risk. Instead, why not consider an inexpensive mobile scaffold which provides easy access to
work areas whilst reducing the risks associated with working at
height.