Whether you’re completing some DIY tasks at home or are working on a building site, you need to ensure that you are as safe as possible. Working at height is arguably the time when you are at most risk – fall injuries are unfortunately still common so you need to ensure that you take the necessary precautions to carry out tasks the right way.

When most people think about carrying out work at height their mind first goes to a ladder. Ladders are the standard equipment that almost everyone is familiar with. But there are certain situations when it’s not appropriate to use a ladder and you should consider utilising a scaffold tower instead.

You should use a scaffold tower if:

You are going to spend more than 30 minutes working at height

Standing on a ladder to complete work for long periods can be uncomfortable for your feet, legs and back. As your muscles weaken it actually puts you in a far more vulnerable position and that can be dangerous. Instead you should use a scaffold tower as this will put far less strain on your body.

You need two hands free at all times to complete the work

To safely work on a ladder it’s vital to maintain three points of contact at all times. This usually means that you have two feet and one hand on the ladder. It is possible to use your knee or chest as a third point of contact, but doing this for long periods could be extremely uncomfortable. If you know that you are going to need to two hands free to complete the task, use a scaffold tower.

You can’t complete the work safely on a ladder

It’s sadly common to see people using a ladder in an unsafe manner – for example, stretching too far to reach higher or placing a ladder on an uneven surface. Even if you’re only going to be working at height for a few minutes, you should not use a ladder if it’s not appropriate for the task at hand.

You are working with heavy materials

A scaffold tower gives you the ability to bring heavy materials to a task with you safely. Trying to carry heavy building materials up a ladder and then hold them in place while you complete the work is not only a risk for you, there is also the possibility of you dropping the materials and endangering someone below.

You need to reach higher than a ladder would allow

One of the major advantages of a scaffold tower is that they can allow you to reach higher than a standard ladder. This can make it possible to complete work that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach safely.