Safe Use of a Scaffold Tower | Health and Safety

Indoors or out, whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a
professional tradesman, a scaffold tower is designed to be a safer
alternative to the humble ladder.

Towers are often ideal for home decoration and maintenance work,
both internally and outside. At the other end of the scale,
professional uses include cable maintenance and major electrical
jobs, using non-conductive towers. Safe use involves both common
sense and a knowledge of legal requirements.

Injury Figures

Millions of people in the UK regularly work at height, and
several thousand are
– and around 40 killed – every year. The HSE (Health
& Safety Executive) has a balancing act to perform, involving
keeping people safe while not wrapping businesses up in red tape to
the extent where they can’t do what they need to do to survive. The
main message of the HSE’s guidelines
is that we should concentrate firstly on preventing falls, and
secondly on minimising the consequences should a fall occur.

Advantages of Towers

The advantages, from a safety perspective, of scaffold towers
include stability; examples such as the Youngman
Minimax Folding Tower
include locking castors, allowing ease of
movement and secure placement while in use. While systems like this
are designed to maximise safety while offering a range of working
heights (through the use of a modular format), it’s always
important to assemble such equipment using the manufacturer’s
instructions. Furthermore, equipment needs to be inspected by an
experienced, knowledgeable and competent person before use, and
regularly throughout its life.

Guard Rails

An important safety feature of a scaffold tower is the guard
rail. In fact, the Work At Height regulations specifically state
that you should never use one without, and even our lightweight
towers aimed at the DIY market, like the
, are equipped with guard rails.

Larger Towers

The HSE rules for using a tower with a potential fall height of
over 2 metres are tougher than those for lower platforms.
Inspection must take place before first use; following anything
that may have compromised the tower’s stability; and at least
weekly. Clear records of inspections must be kept. However, in the
interests of keeping businesses moving, it’s not necessary to
complete an inspection every time a tower is moved within a

Responsibilities & Requirements

Safe use of scaffold towers involves responsibilities both for
employers and employees. It’s a legal requirement for employees to
report possible hazards immediately, as well as using all equipment
in the way in which they’ve been trained. Employers, however,
shouldn’t wait for employees to report risks; it’s good practice to
ask them regularly about potential issues.