Scaffolding & Aluminium Access Towers

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The erection of scaffolding is a specialist activity.
Should you require further detailed information the booklet “Health and Safety in Construction” HSG 150 is available from HSE Publications
We would not normally require scaffolding to be used in a production context; we are far more likely to use Free Standing Access Towers.
When we have used scaffolding we have hired in a contractor to assemble and sign off the work.

Free Standing Access Towers

These lightweight specialist-scaffolding structures are extremely versatile and extremely effective in the right circumstances.

RCS Own a single width Alto Tower System, It's specifications & assembly instructions can be downloaded by clicking this link

The main structure of the kit consists of end frames, diagonal and horizontal braces and adjustable legs with base plates or castor wheels. Above a certain height stabilisers or outriggers will be required, check the different supplier’s guidelines. However as a general rule of thumb stabilisers and outriggers will be required once a tower has been built beyond it’s first frame level and always before use.

Working platforms either at the top or intermediate level will be provided, around which will be guardrails and toeboards for safety. Access to the platform is gained by either inclined or vertical ladders, stairladders or stairways depending on manufacture and model. Ladders can either be built into the frame structure or be separate purpose built inclined or vertical units. Ladders should never lean ON the structure exerting sideways force. You should only use the ladders which come with the tower.

Horizontal and diagonal braces will generally be identical except in length, the length and purpose of the brace may be marked by an identifying mark and/or colour. The brace will have a locking hook mechanism on the ends, which is used to lock onto the horizontal or vertical bars of the end frames. The hook mechanism must be released to allow the brace to be removed.

Platform units normally comprise of a frame with two hooks at each end. Platform hooks locate over the horizontal bars of the end frames and are only provided with minimal locking mechanisms to prevent wind uplift. A deck surface will be fixed into the frame, which will normally be covered with a special anti-slip material. Most platform units will have a hinged hatch to allow access within the tower which must be correctly orientated with the hinge outboard. Platform units are normally about 600mm wide and come in a variety of lengths to suit the individual tower. Platform decks must be installed at least every 4m in height.

Platforms can be single units or two units side by side. For intermediate or landing access platforms a single unit would generally be used, but for maximum safety on working platforms two units are desirable. Working platforms should be surrounded on all four sides by double guardrails and toeboards. Top guardrail height should be 1000mm +/- 50mm above platform level. The intermediate guardrail should have a maximum space of 470mm from its underside to toeboard level. The minimum height for the toeboards is 150mm. Towers are normally available in either single or double width of approx. 0.75m and 1.3m respectively. The length of the basic tower can be varied by the length of the braces and platforms and can range from approx. 1.5m to 3.2m.

Outriggers and stabilisers are attached to increase the “effective base area” to improve stability.

It is no longer appropriate to apply the simple rule of thumb measure of 3.5 X minimum base dimension for interior use. Always refer to the manufacturers and suppliers safety and assembly instructions. Although this can still be used as a “rule of thumb” when checking to see if your tower “feels and looks right”.

Finally, if you are hiring equipment ensure all component parts are compatible. All components must be from the same supplier and for the same particular tower configuration. Before attempting to erect the tower make sure the correct number of components are available and never attempt to make up deficiencies by the use of alternative suppliers parts or stock aluminium scaffolding pipes, couplers or scaffold boards.

You must ensure that persons erecting the tower are competent to do or are preferably supervised by a trained person.