Safety Principles For Aluminium Scaffold Towers
Aluminium scaffold towers are regulated by PASMA, the Prefabricated Aluminium Scaffolding Manufacturer's Association. PASMA do not recommend any particular tower brand, however, they stipulate that all PASMA manufacturing members satisfy and maintain rigid criteria for their products, namely adhering to standard BSEN1004:2004 and EN1004:2004.
So what does EN1004:2004 offer in terms of safety when working at height on a scaffold tower?
- EN1004 scaffold towers must have stabilisers supplied as part of the tower
- Scaffold towers are to be supplied with sufficient platforms to install them at 2m intervals during assembly and dismantling
- Scafold towers have built in access equipment with safe distances between the rungs with slip resistant climbing surfaces to ensure that ascending and descending a scaffold tower is performed in a safe and secure manner
- Guardrails are a mandatory requirement, providing a barrier on all sides of the tower to prevent workers from falling
- Safe practice when assembling and dismantling a tower. A worker must not stand on an unprotected platform, one that is not fitted with guardrails around all the edges. There are two safe system methods called: 3T (Through the Trap) and AGR (Advance Guardrail). The 3T method ensures the user is always seated in a protected position within a platform trapdoor opening when installing or removing the guardrails. The AGR method allows the user to install the guardrails in advance so they never stand on an unprotected platform.
- User instructions - all EN1004 scaffold towers are supplied with user instructions, providing critical safety information regarding the assembly and dismantling of the tower.
Ladder access plays a major role in user safety when ascending or descending a scaffold tower. There are two types of ladder access, each designed to ensure maximum safety for the user:
Stairway or staircase ladder access - the BoSS Staircase Tower is representative of this particular mode of climbing within the internal frame of the tower.
Using A Scaffold Tower On A Pavement
In order to use a tower on a highway, short term or long term, you will require a licence as prescribed under section 169 of the Highways Act 1980. A licence can be obtained from the Highway Authority. Legally, a highway is defined as a public space where the public has a right to pass. This applies to pavements, carriageways, footpaths and verges. The legal requirement relating to scaffolding also apply to the deployment of mobile towers.
A licence will be issued to the company responsible for the management of the mobile tower - for the period of time specified in the licence. The duration should include any time necessary to assemble alter or dismantle the mobile tower. If you are using a mobile tower for more than 7 days, reinspect the tower within the 7 days and a new inspection report should be written.
Inspect the tower daily using safety pre‐checks to ensure that it has not been tampered with or otherwise damaged since its last use.
Special consideration should be applied to the needs of children, elderly people and people with disabilities or particular needs e.g. people using wheelchairs, prams / pushchairs. If required, the appropriate installation of ramps over obstructions should be a applied.
Remember, the site around the tower should be appropriately lit to ensure safe passage during low light. Full guidance can be viewed at https://pasma.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Scaffold-Tower-Pavement-Licence-Guidance-April-2013-Published-Copy.pdf