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Health & Safety Advice For Tower Scaffold Use
When using scaffolding for building construction, it’s vital that you know what your responsibilities are where health and safety is concerned. Tower scaffolds are used to help prevent falls when working at height and as such, it’s essential that you choose the correct tower for the job in question. You also need to make sure that only those with the relevant training and experience erect and dismantle the scaffolding.
As for members of staff, you must also make sure that anyone using these tower scaffolds has received training in the risks and precautions that are necessary during use.
Injuries happen each year because of tower scaffolds, whether it’s someone falling from it or the tower itself overturning. Incidents often happen because the erected scaffold hasn’t been assembled properly, or a platform guardrail isn’t present, because safe systems of working haven’t been followed during erection or dismantling, or misuse of the scaffold itself – such as where a ladder is used on the tower, which leads to it overturning.
When putting the tower in place, you should use an advance guard rail system (where temporary guard units are locked in place from the previous level and then moved up. These need to be in place before the worker accesses the platform in order to fit more permanent guard rails.
Alternatively, you could use the 3T system where someone works from the trapdoor of a platform where components can be added or removed to serve as the guard rails on the level above. This means that the worker won’t be standing on an unguarded platform.
You also need to focus on tower stability, so make sure the ground is firm and level. Don’t use bricks or breeze blocks to help support the tower. Always check the height that the manufacturer recommends and never go over this.
Now that August has come to an end, we can expect to see some slightly more inclement weather come our way as we head into autumn and winter. As such, you may need to prioritise other jobs if the weather is terrible and you intend to work outside, as tower scaffolds should never be used in strong winds.
Forecasters are now saying that the weather this September looks set to be scorching for the time of year, but don’t forget that we do live in the UK and it’s highly likely to change at a moment’s notice so always keep an eye on the weather reports daily just in case.
When moving your scaffolding, you should always make sure it’s been reduced to no more than 4m in height, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Always check that the ground is free from potholes and level, and that there’s nothing overhead such as power lines that could prove to be obstructive. And make sure you never move a tower that has materials or people on it – and avoid moving it in high winds as well.