Frequently Asked Questions for Access Towers

12th July 2018
User Guides

access tower, scaffolding tower

Over the past 40+ years of manufacturing and selling access towers, we’ve been asked a variety of questions. Below are a collection of our most frequently asked questions that we’ve tried to shed some light on.

What is an access tower?

An access tower, sometimes referred to as a scaffold tower, is an installation that allows users to be able to work safely at height. A typical example would be a tower with one or more platforms at varying heights.

What types of access tower are there?

The most common types of access tower are:

  • One man towers
  • Two man towers
  • Rolling towers
  • Static towers

Each of these has their own set of unique traits, but the main differentiators are:

Size – depending on your reasons for needing an access tower, there will be a particular size that suits you best. Towers will come in varying heights and this will be reflected in their price.

Number of users – the most common structures are two or one-man access towers, and this will inform the size of the platform and area needed to operate the tower
Movability – Whilst towers are meant to stay static whilst you work, it’s possible to purchase or hire rolling access towers such as the MI TOWER. The advantage to these is that they’re easy to move and are especially useful for single users

How do I erect an access tower?

Each manufacturer will have a different set of instructions on how to erect their particular access tower. However, there are two ways to approach the erection of an access tower safely. These are:

  • The ‘3T’ method – This refers to ‘Through-the-trap’. Essentially, your working position when assembling the tower will be through a trap-door in the main platform. It’ll involve adding or removing components through the trap, meaning that you won’t have to try to assemble the tower whilst stood on an unguarded platform. This negates the need for a guard rail
  • Advanced guard rail system – This method involves the use of temporary, movable guard rails that are to be installed on the level below and subsequently moved up to the platform level to allow you to work safely until permanent guard rails are installed.

However as we’ve said, every manufacturer will have a specific set of instructions for their access towers. If you’d like an example of what this might look like, the erection guide for the MI TOWER can be found here.

How much does an access tower cost?

Cost will always depend on whether you intend to hire or buy your access tower. Obviously a higher cost will be incurred for buying over hiring so we’d usually only recommend this to workers who are likely to use it in their day to day work or re-sellers.

In terms of hire costs, this will depend on the tower that you’d like to hire, and the period that you’d like this for.

For an accurate quote on hiring or buying an access tower, submit a product enquiry here.

What are the official regulations for working at height?

The official regulations for working at height can be found in The Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The regulations are designed to protect users and minimise accidents whilst working at height and thus seek to ensure that:

  • All work is properly planned
  • People carrying out any work are considered ‘competent’
  • The right equipment is being used
  • Any risks are assessed and minimised

You can view the full Work at Height Regulations here.

What components make up an access tower?

Generally speaking, the main components of an access tower are:

  • Braces & guardrail frames or panels
  • Frames – Ladder or span
  • Platforms – Hatch & Standard
  • Various pins to hold the frames together
  • Stabilisers to provide stability for the tower
  • Adjustable legs to level the tower
  • Locking castors to allow users to move the tower
  • Toeboards to stop materials from falling

What does PASMA stand for?

PASMA stands for the Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers’ Association. This is a well established organisation seen as the authority for mobile access towers.

What’s the maximum height of a mobile access tower?

Maximum heights of mobile access towers will differ by tower type, you should refer to the manufacturer’s assembly guide for reference. As an example the maximum working height of our MI TOWER is 6 metres.

At what height is an access tower required?

There’s no specific height set for requiring an access tower, but we’d recommend that you use your best judgement. Anything that is above ground level that’s going to require stability that a simple ladder can’t give is when we’d consider using an access tower.

Where can I receive PASMA training?

PASMA have a select group of registered and approved training centres that are qualified to deliver the PASMA training syllabus. You can find your nearest training centre using their locator.

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