When to use a Mobile Tower

If you need to work high up, whether that's for hanging advertising, carrying out building work, or electrical work like fitting lights, you need to be able to get up there and work safely.

The traditional way of working high up is using a ladder. If you're working for any length of time, or need better reach or access, you know a ladder is a lousy way of getting up in the air. You can only reach a small area, you can't put any decent push behind tools like drills as it destabilises you, and you can't have much equipment with you, which can mean lots of running up and down the ladder swapping tools if they're big.

You could use a cherry picker or scissor lift, machines which lift you up in to the air. Some people find cherry pickers to be awkward as the bucket you sit in can sway a little, and you wouldn't want to be sitting in one in strong wind. Scissor lifts are good, if you can manoeuvre them in to position and have enough open access to drive them to where you're working. However, both are expensive as they're machines - they need maintenance, they're more expensive to buy, and even if you hire rather than buy, if you need them for a while that can mount up.

So if you need a decent work area, stability, and have restricted access, or are on a budget or need to work at height for several days or weeks, you should look at using a mobile tower. These are fast to put together, and offer enough area for a couple people and their tools to work in safety.

In use, mobile towers look quite like scaffolding - a set of bars connected together by secured joints. However, look closer and you'll see what looks like sets of poles are actually pre-welded grids, making the towers much stronger and quicker to put together and take down. This makes them safer than scaffolding and a lot quicker to use when you don't need the very broad access scaffolding gives you.

Low level access

One use for mobile towers is low level access. Most people don't think of working relatively close to the ground as a problem, but when you need a stable working environment and more access and safety than a stepladder can offer, it's actually remarkably hard to work a few feet off the ground safely.

Towers are perfect for low level work - rated as less than two-and-a-half metres off the ground. You get a decent size platform to work from, plenty of strength so you can take up all the tools you might need, and no wobbles that you might get from a ladder.

Get trained

If you do use a tower, whether it's for low level work or high up, in or outside a building, you need to get trained to use them. This is pretty simple stuff if you've been around building sites, but you need to make sure you know what you're doing as you don't want to be two metres up and have a fall because you didn't tighten something up properly, or make sure the tower was well set. A fall from four or five metres? You don't want to even think about it.

So, use a PASMA certified training place. PASMA is the Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association, a trade association for the mobile towers industry. They issue a card when you pass your training and if you're a contractor, you can use this card to show site managers that you're safe to use towers and what types you're trained to use.

Once you're trained and using a tower, it becomes second nature to judge where you can place one of them, what will obstruct you when you're trying to put it up, where your access to the tower is, but all that starts with being trained so you know all the ins and outs and safety basics. So don't mess about, get trained on them first before you start trying to use them.

Alan has spent many years working high up in the air, using machines, scaffold, towers, and on one scary occasion, three ropes and a bucket. He'd like to tell you some of the things he's seen through fifth-floor windows, but she's sworn him to secrecy.

Article Site Code by Web Positioning Centre