Working at heights is a job with quite a number of risks involved. This requires the use of access equipment to ensure the safety of everyone on site. It is crucial to know the different types of access equipment you can use when working at heights.
Each access equipment is designed for use in specific situations. A big part of ensuring worker safety is choosing the right equipment for the job. Here are some of the equipment that is used when working at heights.
1. Tower scaffolds
A tower scaffold is a free-standing pre-fabricated mobile tower that is used in instances where there is no structure which can be used to provide support for the scaffolding. Tower scaffolds are more common in engineering, construction, and maintenance work. Unless specifically designed, tower scaffolding reaches heights of 12m and can be used both internally and externally. It often comes with wheels so you can move around.
2. Fixed scaffolding
Fixed scaffolding is a temporary structure made of timber or metal poles that are joined together to provide support for construction workers and materials when working at heights. The structure is tied to the building under construction to provide additional stability from factors like strong winds. The scaffolding can be used both internally and externally and is constructed according to the height of the building and its structure.
3. Elevating Platforms
Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs) are a common and safe way to access hard-to-reach areas in a construction project. People working with MEWPs should however be very careful when working with the equipment as there is a risk of overturning, collision, entrapment, and falling along with a number of risks involved when working at heights.
4. Stationary access platforms
Is a small platform commonly used by builders and painters to do their general work. The platform can be extended up and down. It is much smaller than the scaffold tower and is a considerable cheaper option. Most of the time it doesn’t have wheels though it is lightweight meaning it can be moved around by one person. It has a platform for workers to put down their tools and other equipment. A perfect option for home use and DIY project.
5. Staging and trestles
Trestles are commonly used when the work requires more than one person to be on the platform and are commonly used by builders and decorators. They can either be a steel type or an ‘A’ frame type and are made of a horizontal board spanning across the legs of the trestle and guardrails if there is a high risk of workers falling off. Trestles are a simple form of access equipment that is only used for short projects with light work.
6. Ladders and stepladders
Different materials such as steel, wood, aluminium and fibreglass can be used to make ladders. The ladders are grouped according to the purposes which they serve. the groupings are;
- Class I- The maximum load of these ladders is 175kg and they have a colour code blue. They are mostly used in industrial settings.
- Class III- These ladders have a maximum load of 150kg and are not colour coded.
- Class EN131- These ladders have a maximum load of 125kg and a red colour code. They are mostly used commercially.
Cranes are a great form of access equipment to use as they have a large weight capacity and are operated manually reducing the chances of errors occurring. Cranes are widely used , especially in large buildings as they offer a fact and convenient means to get materials to the top of the buildings. The operation of a crane requires a professional as the control mechanism of the machinery is quite complex.
8. Articulating boom lifts
The design of articulating boom lifts mainly centres on featuring a greater uptime, longer uptime and higher productivity. These machines provide a quieter work area, zero negative emissions, a lesser dependence on hydraulic fuels and fewer scheduled services. The articulating boom lifts can be used both indoors and outdoors and are powered by powerful AMG batteries charged by a diesel generator.
9. Vertical mast lifts
The vertical mast lifts are equipped with a direct electric drive with AC motors that do not require maintenance, 25% gradability.