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When should you use a scaffold tower?

25 May 2017 08:36:48 GMT

If you’re going to carry out any work at height then you are going to need some form of access equipment. For most people, that means immediately getting their ladder out of storage. But while ladders can be extremely useful, it’s also the case that you could be overlooking other, more practical options.

Sometimes it can be a better idea to consider using a high quality scaffold tower for the work that you are carrying out. Let’s have a look at some of the different occasions when it’s best to use a scaffold tower, and when it’s just as practical to use a ladder.

When a ladder is best

Ladders are popular for a huge number of reasons. Whether for a professional tradesperson carrying out a number or tasks or just an individual doing a bit of DIY around the house, a ladder is a convenient, versatile and user friendly piece of access equipment. Durable but lightweight, they are easy to move and store, and you don’t need to have any special training or knowledge in order to work with them.

Additionally, ladders are available in an enormous variety of styles, designs and materials, so you can easily pick the perfect one for the job. Whether you’re looking for an aluminium ladder or a fibreglass model that doesn’t conduct electricity, you can pick them up cheaply.

However, many people choose to use ladders simply because they are familiar with them, rather than because they are right tool for the job. Ladders have limitations and in some scenarios in can be better to look for alternative options in times of your access equipment. This is where the scaffold tower comes in.

When to use a scaffold tower

Scaffold towers are perfect for longer or larger-scale jobs than those that can be carried out on ladders. One of the principle advantages is that you can have both hands free, making them perfect for tasks like bricklaying or painting. As you’ll be standing on a platform, you’ll have a solid surface for better balance and comfort too. This is why scaffold towers are often preferred by tradespeople and professionals.

While these advantages are clear it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that they are better for every job. Scaffold towers generally take longer to set up and take down than ladders. If you are interested in learning more about scaffold towers, or would like to talk to experts about which kind of access equipment might be right for you, please get in contact with Precipitous today. A member of our team would be happy to go over your needs and requirements. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

If you’ve ever heard of a telescopic ladder, you’ll probably understand the concept of a telescopic scaffold tower. These towers fold down to be able to fit into the boot of an estate car but fold up to an incredible height of 2m. The Teletower is the world’s first telescopic scaffold tower – providing access up to a working height of 4m. Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of buying a telescopic scaffold tower and see if it might be the perfect piece of equipment for you.

Choose the right height for the job

One of the best features of telescopic scaffold towers is their flexibility. They can be assembled to a variety of different heights very quickly and easily. That means you only need this one piece of equipment to carry out a variety of jobs. This is much easier than having to get out several different ladders. It also means that you don’t have the expense of buying other pieces of equipment. So a telescopic scaffold tower will not only save you time, but money as well!

Convenient

Despite the fact that a telescopic tower gives you up to 4m in working height, it is easy to store. This is because the tower folds down within itself. When fully compressed the tower will fit inside the boot of an estate car. It is made from durable aluminium, which means it is both strong and lightweight for complete convenience.

Quick to assemble

Telescopic towers can be erected very quickly compared with standard scaffold towers. You should be able to have the tower fully assembled in just three minutes. That means that you can get on with work quickly. Of course, disassembling is just as fast so if you need to move onto another task you can do this very quickly.

Can be used by one person

One of the major advantages of telescopic scaffold towers it that they can be used by just one person. As we have already discussed, they can be easy moved around as they can be packed down, so there is no need to have several people in order to carry out work. That means that you can get on with a task immediately.

Range of safety features

As with any equipment designed for work at height, it’s important that it is completely safe. Thankfully these towers have a range of safety features to keep their user secure. With guardrails and stabilisers minimising the risk of fall injuries. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

It is obvious to just about anyone that working at height comes with associated risk. Any time you are working in an environment where there is the possibility that you could fall from height and injure yourself, there is a degree of danger involved. So you might assume that you if you are going to undertake some work at height – or you are employing someone to do so – that some level of training will be required in order to do so.

The rules surrounding working at height are governed by the Work at Height Regulations 2005 act. Safety is a key concern in order to protect workers from the risk of injury. So let’s have a look at what the regulations say about the training required to work at height.

Competence is key

Regulations state that workers must be competent in order to work at height. But in this context, what does the word ‘competent’ mean? Anyone who is going to work at height is required to have the skills, knowledge and experience to do so. Alternatively, if they are being trained then they must be under the supervision of someone who is competent to do so.

This is why it is so important for an employer or manager to perform a thorough assessment of the risks associated with the job. They can then easily understand whether someone is competent to carry out the work.

It depends on the type of work

Clearly, then, whether you need training to carry out a task depends on that task. Simple, low-risk jobs with short durations, such as those requiring the use of a ladder of step ladder only take very basic training that can take place on the job under the eye of a supervisor. This could include training such as how to set up a ladder correctly, as well as providing an understanding of ladder safety basics.  

However, there are many types of work at height that require more sophisticated training. For example, you might need to set up a scaffold tower or assemble a scaffold with complex safety requirements. In these examples it may be necessary for you to have certified training in order to be deemed confident.

If you need training, say so

It’s important that if you are going to work at height that you feel safe to do so. Remember that if you feel that require training you should make your employer or supervisor aware. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

The vast majority of scaffold towers available on the market are made using aluminium. However, you may have noticed a growing trend for towers to be available made in fibreglass. So does this mean that you need to consider investing in a fibreglass tower as well?

The fact is that fibreglass towers are not necessarily better than metal towers, but they are used for specific purposes. It could be the case that you could really benefit from having a fibreglass tower available. Let’s have a look at why it might be worth you buying a fibreglass model.

Non-conducting scaffold tower

The main reason that you would need a fibreglass tower is if you are working with electrical hazards. Working at height already has inherent risks before you consider working in dangerous conditions with electricity. Unfortunately due to the nature of the material, metal scaffold towers conduct electricity. This means that if you are standing on one that comes into contact with electrical current, you could end up receiving a serious electric shock.

Fibreglass does not conduct electricity, so a tower made from the material can keep you safe in the event of an accident. If you believe that you are going to be working in proximity to electrical hazards then it is vital that you should invest in a fibreglass scaffold tower.

Other advantages of fibreglass

Aside from the fact that it is safe to use around electricity, fibreglass does have some other benefits to consider. The natural properties of the material means that it does not oxidise or corrode as aluminium or other metals can if they are not properly maintained. If scaffold towers corrode it can leave them unsafe to use which means they will need to be replaced. This gives fibreglass towers the potential to have a longer lifespan.

They can be purchased to the same height and size as aluminium towers, so you don’t need to worry that you would have to compromise on the tower that you are looking for. The material is also non-sparking, which reduces any risks if you are working around combustible materials like gas or chemicals.

Are there any downsides?

It is generally the case that there is nothing that an aluminium tower can do that a fibreglass tower can’t, so it that sense there are no downsides to buying a fibreglass model. You should be aware that in some cases the load that the towers are able to hold is slightly less than their aluminium counterparts.

It should also be noted that fibreglass towers can be more expensive that standard towers. However, the cost should not come into the matter if you are buying your tower for safety reasons.

If you have any additional questions about fibreglass towers or the range of options that are available to you, please contact us today. Our team is highly experienced in all aspects of scaffold towers and can provide you with the advice and guidance you need to make an informed decision. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Which ladder is best for electricians?

27 April 2017 09:01:00 GMT

Electricians are often required to work at height, whether they are fitting lights to the outside of a house or installing electrical cables through the ceiling of a warehouse. But when you are working at height it is vital to take all the correct safety precautions and one of the most important is using the right ladder for the job. So which type of ladder is the best for electricians to stay safe and get their work done efficiently and effectively? Let’s look at some of the considerations.

Consider alternative options first

The first thing to note about ladders and electricians is that there may be a better way to do the job than to use a ladder. Due to the nature of electrical work, a ladder isn’t always appropriate. This is because for many tasks, electricians need both hands free, but working on a ladder necessitates three points of contact at all times, usually meaning you can only use one hand while the other holds onto the ladder.

So it’s always a good idea to look at the alternatives. If it’s a large scale project, is it possible for you to use a scaffold tower? Scaffold towers can leave you with both hands free and space to place tools safely.

Avoid metal ladders

It’s often the case that if you are going to undertake an electrical task you might reach for the nearest ladder available – but this can be a mistake. Many standard ladders are made from aluminium or other metals which conduct electricity. If the ladder was to come into contact with electrical current it can put you at risk of electrocution. For electricians who work with exposed wires and other electrical hazards, this can be very dangerous. As such any electrician should look to non-metal options.

Timber or fibreglass is best

Timber and fibreglass ladders are usually the preferred option for electricians as these do not conduct electricity. In the majority of cases it is best to use a fibreglass option, as wood and timber is now far less commonly used to make ladders and fibreglass is stronger, more durable and lightweight. It should be noted that even with these types of ladder, you need to take care of them. If the ladder is damp it can still conduct electricity.

The right height for the job

Remember that no matter what kind of ladder you are going to use, it’s still vital that you follow standard ladder safety procedures. Most importantly, you should only ever use a ladder that allows you to safely reach up to the height of the job. Never assume that it is fine to overstretch or stand on a higher rung than the manual suggests. It’s always a better idea to make use of a taller ladder rather than putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

Additionally make sure that the ladder is set up safely with its feet on flat and solid ground, and that there is something with you to observe. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

DIY tasks to get done this summer

20 April 2017 10:22:00 GMT

The summer is fast approaching, so now is the perfect time to start planning the DIY jobs that you want to get done around the house while the weather is good. It’s worth remembering that if you’ve got work that needs to be done on the outside of the house, summer is the best time to do it. It’s warmer and more pleasant to be outdoors, plus there is less chance of wind, rain or ice to make things difficult for you.

So this summer, ditch the indoor jobs and getting working on the exterior of your home. Here are some important things that you can get done this year.

Painting the outside of the house

Summer is definitely the right time to paint the outside of the house. Warmer weather means the paint will dry more quickly and the job is less likely to be affected by rain. Take the time to give your home that new coat of paint. If you’re going up on a ladder it’s much safer to do so in the summer – but you should still take all the necessary precautions, including working in pairs rather than tackling the project alone.

Clearing the gutters

Gutters take a pounding over the winter and early spring, so once the summer comes around it’s worth going up there to clear them out. This is both easier to do in the warm weather and it means you’ll be completely prepared for next winter so you can be free from any problems.

Check the roof

The old saying goes: fix the roof while the sun is shining. And while this is usually just a figure of speech, it also makes a lot of practical sense. While the weather is good you should get up onto the roof to see if there are any problems or minor issues that have the potential to get worse. Now is the time to get them sorted out.

Organise your equipment

This idea isn’t so much a DIY task in itself, but it is something that will make it much easier to do anything else. You need to take the time to get your equipment sorted. It’s so often the case that we come to get started on a job and realise that we don’t have the right tools or that the equipment that we planned to use is worn and unusable. So once you have planned out the tasks you are going to get done, do an inventory of the pieces of equipment you are going to need.

Now spend some time going over that equipment to make sure that it is suitable for the task and is in good working order. So many DIY accidents and injuries occur because the wrong piece of equipment is used. For example, if you have a ladder that isn’t quite tall enough to reach where you need to be, it can be tempting to use that ladder anyway and simply stretch up or put yourself in a dangerous position to get the task done. Instead it’s worth investing in a new, high quality ladder that’s right for the task. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

If you need a new scaffold tower it is definitely a good idea to consider used and second hand options. Buying used can save you a significant amount of money compared to buying new, and as long as the tower is in good condition, there is no reason to avoid buying. Here are some important dos and don’ts when it comes to buying and using second hand scaffold towers.

Do take advantage of the savings

Second hand scaffold towers can make an excellent purchase. They allow you to save a significant amount of money while still getting the piece of equipment that you need. The cost of buying new scaffold towers can sometimes be prohibitively expensive – it can even lead some to make the dangerous decision to use a scaffold tower in a way that isn’t safe. It’s a much better idea to buy a second hand tower that is fit for purpose.

Don’t buy without seeing the tower first

You should never commit to buying a used scaffold tower without seeing it first. If a supplier is unwilling to let you inspect the tower yourself before you buy this could be a warning sign that the product is faulty or substandard in some way. Request the opportunity to look over the tower before you buy, this will ensure you have no unwelcome surprises when it arrives.

Do buy from a reputable supplier

On this subject, it is essential if you choose to purchase second hand that you buy from a reputable and established supplier. A good supplier will not sell a second hand that is in poor condition, so you can rely on them to get you a solid piece of equipment. While it might be tempting to choose an unknown supplier with very low prices, there is always likely to be a reason that these prices are so low, and this may come down to cutting corners and not taking safety issues into account.

Don’t buy something unsuitable just because it’s cheap

There’s no denying that second hand scaffold towers can be a bargain – but some businesses choose to buy a second hand tower that is not ideal for the job at hand simply because it is cheap. Remember that you still need to focus on getting the right equipment for the job. Getting the wrong tower at an excellent price might well work financially but it means you will run the risk of putting workers in danger. 

Do consider hiring too

Another option that you may not have considered is hiring a scaffold tower. If you’re buying second hand because you’re not going to use the tower very much and you want a cheap price, it may make more sense to hire. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Working at height is any work where someone could fall from one level to another. It is inherently hazardous and it is up to employers and mangers to ensure that the appropriate precautions have been taken to protect workers from harm. That means that you need to carry out a risk assessment. Here are five important questions that you need to answer in order to assess the risk of working at height.

Who could be injured by the work at height?

Firstly, you need to understand exactly who is at risk from working at height – this is not always obvious. Clearly workers who could fall and injure themselves are the most at risk but if they are working with tools (or anything that can be dropped) it should be recognised that people below them are at risk too. It should be noted that the people below could include members of the public as well as other workers. Members of the public may be at even more risk as they won’t be wearing hardhats, so you need to make especially sure you have precautions in place to deal with this risk.

Are the workers competent and supervised?

You need to be sure that the workers who are being placed in this position have suitable experience and knowledge to carry out the work. While in many cases there is no specific training required to work at height, it will need to come down to a judgement on whether a worker has the competence to be in this position. Also remember that due to the dangers of this kind of work, it should be supervised at all times. There should never be a point where an individual is working entirely alone.

Is the equipment suitably maintained?

Whether you are working with a ladder, scaffold tower or platform, it’s important to ensure that it is properly maintained and safe to use. Equipment that has become heavily worn can be extremely unsafe and before it gets to this stage you should repair or replace it. Before each use you should inspect your ladder or tower to ensure that workers will be safe using it.

Is there a safer way to get the task done?

It is sometimes that case that work at height is undertaken without consider other, safer options to get the same tasks done. As an example, take the idea of cleaning windows on a high floor. You might come up with a plan to use a ladder in order to get up to the height and clean. But it may be the case that there is no need to do this. It may be possible and even preferable to clean the windows from the inside of the building. If the windows open it is possible to get the cleaning done internally without anyone having to take the risk of working on the ladder.

This won’t be possible in every example, but it’s always a good idea to consider whether there are potential alternatives to putting workers in precarious positions.

Is your equipment suitable for the task?

Also remember that you need to make sure you are using the right equipment for the job. It may be the case that the ladder you have is not quite high enough for the job, or alternatively that, in this situation, a scaffold tower would provide a far safer environment. No matter what, you focus needs to be on minimising risk, even if that means you need to purchase new equipment. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

How to use a scaffold tower safely

24 March 2017 10:01:01 GMT

If you are going to use a scaffold tower in a professional capacity – either self-employed or as the employee of a company – you need to follow the Working at Height regulations. The regulations state that a risk assessment must be carried out before work can commence, anyone working at height must be competent to do so and the equipment must be assembled properly. Let’s have a look at how these regulations apply to scaffold towers.

Carry out a risk assessment

A risk assessment is the first step before any kind of work at height so that you can establish whether a scaffold tower is the most appropriate kind of access equipment to use. First consider whether the task can be accomplished without working at height as this can avoid any risk.

Now look at whether a tower can be correctly assembled in a safe place. It is also worth ensuring that the scaffold tower you are using has been bought or hired from a reputable supplier. Finally, remember that the person carrying out the risk assessment must be competent to do so.

Make sure the tower is assembled properly

It’s vital that the scaffold tower is assembled properly. This starts with siting the tower on firm and level ground – or using footplates or spreader boards to ensure that it is kept secure and in place. You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions throughout the process and never attempt to construct the tower any other way, for example, in order to get additional height.

After the assembly it should be inspected before anyone attempts to use it. It doesn’t matter what safety precautions have been taken if the tower has been set up incorrectly.

Ensure those using it are competent to do so

You need to make sure that anyone who is assembling or using the tower is competent to do so. In this context a ‘competent’ person is someone with professional training, knowledge or on-the-job experience in order to assemble, inspect, understand the hazards and use the tower without posing a risk to themselves or anyone around them.

Use the tower only in a way that’s appropriate

It’s also important to recognise that you need to use the tower in the way it is intended. For example, you should never work on a platform that doesn’t have guard rails. Nor should you stand on a platform when they tower is being built or dismantled without the proper protection. Additionally you need to follow the instruction manual every time – don’t assume that you will be able to assemble the tower based on your own experience. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

The advantages of telescopic ladders

17 March 2017 09:49:16 GMT

Telescopic ladders (also known as telescoping ladders) are less well known than the traditional extension ladder or step ladders, but they have a huge range of uses and advantages. Everyone from professionals to keen DIYers can benefit from having a telescopic ladder available to them. Here are some of the advantages and reasons to buy a telescopic ladder.

Convenient storage

One of the obvious advantages of the telescopic ladder is that they can be packed very tightly to allow for easy storage. Unlike traditional ladders, telescopic options can be folded down to less than a third of their full height allowing you to store them in a convenient location for quick access whenever you need them. This also means that there is no need to store them outside, which reduces their exposure to the elements and can prolong their lifespan. Ultimately this makes them safer too as they are less like to be worn down.

Easy to carry

Transporting a traditional ladder can be awkward and difficult. They can be challenging to move within the confines of a house and some won’t fit easily into a car to allow them to be moved around. But neither of those problems are an issue with a telescopic ladder. The fact that their size can be highly reduced by packing them down means they can easily be taken in any car. They are also made from lightweight aluminium so they are easy to carry for anyone.

Highly versatile

Telescoping ladders are some of the most convenient of any ladders. Extended to over 3 metres in height, they can be used for a huge variety of jobs while being easy to move around and store. But what’s even better is that each rung can be individually adjusted, so you can ensure that your ladder reaches the perfect for you to carry out the work. This means that it can effectively substitute for both an extension ladder and a step ladder, carrying out both tasks easily. Whether you’re using the ladder around the house, in the garden or on a construction site, it’s perfect. 

Excellent build quality

Constructed in lightweight aluminium, these telescopic ladders have an excellent build quality so that you know you are getting a truly high quality product. They are also wear resistant with anodised stiles.

Very safe

You might think all of these advantages come at the price of a reduced emphasis on safety, but it’s not the case. In fact, telescopic ladders have a range of safety features include extra wide treads for comfortable use and a weight rating of 150kg, meaning it can support a weight of more than 23-and-a-half stone. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

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