The UK construction industry is a huge contributor to the overall economy and well over 2.2 million individuals make up this workforce powerhouse. Because of the very nature of the job, the construction industry has a myriad of different skillsets and related working arena. One of the factors of this complicated and often risky working arena is the sheer variety of equipment that is required to make these tasks possible. Many of these are designed for working at height and it is imperative that the individuals using them are take the safe working at height training course. This article looks at 5 examples of access platforms and explains why and where they are used within the UK construction industry.
Edge Protection Systems
Due to the risks of working from height, it is imperative that every possible hazard is addressed and a safe solution is found. When construction workers are required to work on a roof, there is a constant risk of falling or slipping. Working from any kinds of height is a dangerous activity and even a fall from a few feet can cause serious injury. The edge protection system is put in place to reduce the risk of a worker falling off the roof or elevated work surface. The edge protection system can be something as basic as a barrier that surrounds the edge of the roof. These should meet with the UK standards and need to be sturdy enough to stop a full grown man from falling off the roof or elevated surface.
Folding Work Platforms
Folding work systems are also known as hop-up systems and they are incredibly useful for many different working from height scenarios. Folding work platforms are very popular with painters and decorators as they offer a portable and lightweight way to reach those ceilings and upper wall areas. The legs of the platform simply unfold and lock into place to offer a sturdy and safe working platform. A typical folding work platform will be between 900mm and 100 mm long and the height would be around 600mm. Despite the seemingly diminutive dimensions, all workers should be familiar with the appropriate safety precautions before using a folding work platform.
Podium platform steps are a safe and useful alternative to conventional step ladders for use in the UK construction industry. The platform is made from an aluminium tube that is then decked with a wooden layer. These offer a slip resistant and sturdy method platform from which the worker can use to access higher areas. These can be as high as 2 metres high and are also equipped with guardrails. There is far less risk of falling in comparison with a ladder and these are recommended for all types of painting and decorating activities.
Mobile Access Towers
These are also known as mobile scaffold towers and have long been the mainstay of external and internal working from height access equipment. A typical mobile access tower can be from 1 meter tall to 5 or 6 times that height. Working from this equipment is risk laden and the Work at Height Regulation 2005 has addressed these issues. It is vital that any worker who intends to use a mobile access tower attends the correct HSE approved training course. Failure to comply with these regulations could lead to serious injuries or even death.
Powered Access Platforms
These are also known as aerial work platforms and are made up of an elevated working platform that is usually powered by a mechanical device. Working from such a device requires a lot of safety awareness and they can often reach heights in excess of 10 meters. Despite the need for the actual elevation control and the platform activities, many of these are operated by a single person. This is why it is vital that all powered access platform workers undergo the correct operational powered access training.
Health & Safety
If you are intending to work with any of these access platforms in the near future, ensure that you employer has offered you the correct training courses. If you are in doubt about your status, please contact the HSE for some advice.