Safe use of aluminium towers / scaffolds
Sunday, 15 August 2010 00:00
Guidance for the safe use of aluminium towers or scaffolds at work
Tower scaffolds are involved in numerous accidents at the workplace each year. Around 50 people die annually in the UK and over 4,500 are injured due to faulty or defective scaffolds or scaffolding which has collapsed.
Most accidents occur as a result of improper maintenance or because the tower wasn't not properly erected. Aluminium towers are light and can easily overturn. Because they can collapse if a single section is left out, they rely on all the parts being in place and properly used to ensure adequate strength.
When a company is required to use aluminium towers or scaffolds they should take a number of factors into consideration before erecting the tower/scaffold. Things to think about:
Actions to be carried out whilst erecting the tower/scaffold:
- Instructions should be provided which give advice on erection sequence and bracing requirement; these will be issued from the hire company.
- The person erecting the tower to be competent.
Actions to be carried out whilst using the tower/scaffold:
- Ensure the tower/scaffold is resting on firm, level ground with the feet properly supported.
- The taller the tower/scaffold the more likely it is to become unstable.
- Do not use bricks or building blocks to take the weight of any part of the tower/scaffold.
- There must be a safe way to get to and from the work platform. Suitable edge protection must be in place.
Actions to be carried out when moving the tower/scaffold:
- Check that there are no power lines or other overhead obstructions
- Check that the ground is firm and level
- Never more it while there are people or materials on the upper platforms or in windy conditions.
Any tower or scaffold should be inspected before each use. If it's in position for seven days or more, every time it is relocated or adapted an entry to that effect should be made in the appropriate register (Form 91).
A number of legal requirements apply to the safe use of aluminium towers or scaffolds in the workplace. They exist to protect workers and their employers.
The relevant legal requirements are:
- Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996
- Work at Height Regulations 2005
Absolute Health and Safety Ltd can give you more business-specific information on the safe use of aluminium towers/scaffolds and how you can reduce any associated risks. If you use towers or scaffolds in your line of work, get in touch to ensure you're protecting yourself and your staff.