Scaffolds Safety

Scaffold Safety


Many types of mobile access towers are available. The manufacturer or supplier has a duty to provide an instruction manual which explains the erection sequence, including any bracing requirements. If the tower has been hired, the hirer has a duty to provide this information. This information must be passed on to the person erecting the tower.

Tower should be erected following a safe method of work. There are two approved methods recommended by the Prefabricated Access Suppliers.

The first method, an advance guard rail system, makes use of specially designed temporary guard rail units, which are locked in place from the level below and moved up to the platform level. The temporary guard rail units provide collective fall prevention and are in place before the operator accesses the platform to fit the permanent guard rails. The progressive erection of guard fails from a protected area at a lower level ensures the operator is never exposed to the risk of falling from an unguarded platform.

The second method of erection is the ‘through-the-trap’. This allows the person erecting the tower to position himself at minimum risk during the installation of guard rails to the next level. It involves the operator taking up a working position in the trap door of the platform, from where they can add or remove the components which act as the guard rails on the operator does not stand on an unguarded platform, but installs the components to a particular level while positioned within the trap door of that same level.

Tower should only be erected by trained and competent people. There are a number of organizations that provide training for the safe erection and use of tower scaffold following the methods described above.


Make sure the tower is resting on firm, level ground with the locked castors or base plates properly supported. Never use bricks or building blocks to take the weight of any part of the tower.

Always check the safe working height by referring to the instruction manual.

Always install stabilizers or outriggers when advised to do so in the instruction manual.

Remember, the stability of any tower is easily affected. Unless the tower has been specifically designed for such use, activities such as those listed below should never be specifically designed for the purpose of getting to and form the working platform-these have rung spacing of between 230 and 300 mm and an anti-slip surface. If you are in doubt, consult the instruction manual.

Falls must be prevented where there is a risk that a fall could result in personal injury. The working platform must be provided with suitable edge protection and toe boards. Guard rails should be at least 9.50mm high and an intermediate guard rail should be provided so the unprotected gap does not exceed 4,70mm.

Never use a tower:

  • As a support for ladders, trestles or other access equipment
  • in weather conditions which are likely to make it unstable
  • with broken or missing parts
  • with incompatible components.


When moving a tower:

Reduce the height to a maximum of 4m: check that there are no power lines or other obstructions overhead: check that the ground is firm, level and free from potholes; push or pull using manual effort the base only never move it while there are people or materials on the tower; never move it in windy conditions


When tower are used in public places, extra precautions are required:

  • Erect barriers at ground level to prevent people from walking into the tower or work area;
  • Minimize the storage of materials and equipment on the working platform;
  • Remove or board over access ladder to prevent unauthorized access if it is to remain in position unattended


To dismantle a tower using the advance guard rail method, the operator starts from the top and reinstates the advance guard rail unit before removing the permanent guard rails and toe boards rail units are then relocated to the level below and the process is repeated, with collective fall prevention measures being maintained throughout.

To dismantle a tower using the 3T method, after removing the toe boards, the operator disengages the guard rail then removed with the operator positioned through the trap before descending to the lower level, from where the upper platform and end frames and end frames are removed.