Mobile Scaffolding: When To Use & Its Benefits
Ask anyone the first thing that comes to mind when they think about a construction site. It won’t be surprising if they mention the sight of scaffolding enveloping the building, whether a house or an office tower. Even in retrofitting or improvement works, scaffolding sees much use.
Mobile scaffolding is an ideal choice for almost every construction project for numerous reasons. This blog post will explore these reasons in-depth, the situations that justify utilising scaffolding, and some best practices for employing it.
Why use mobile scaffolding?
As explained in a previous post, mobile scaffolding is a type of scaffolding with caster wheels at the bottom. They’re often made from aluminium, well known in the construction sector for being lightweight and durable. The combination of these two features allows it to be moved to sections that need them without prior disassembly.
It’s important to understand this elimination of constant disassembly and reassembly. To start, it reduces the risk of workplace accidents that come with dismantling the scaffolding, carrying the parts to another part of the site, and putting them back together again. A project that needs fewer steps to complete presents fewer chances for accidents to occur.
Aluminium plays a role in providing mobility. Tests show that aluminium scaffolds weigh about 75% of the weight of their steel counterparts, yet their maximum pull-off force is twice as much. Its specific strength is almost comparable to steel (222 kN*m/kg vs. 254 kN*m/kg). This quality influences project managers to prefer aluminium due to its lower cost relative to its strength.
While safer alternatives like boom lifts exist, scaffolding is more practical for hard-to-reach areas like a building’s interior. Unless the structure’s big enough, moving a lift truck inside might not be sound, let alone safe. In such situations, mobile aluminium scaffolding works more efficiently for the reasons explained above.
When would you use a mobile tower scaffold?
Determining whether a scaffold or a simple ladder will do the trick all boils down to safety on heights. Statistics show that fall-related workplace fatalities can happen at heights as low as 1.8 metres, with the fatality rate increasing with the height.
Then again, a scaffold may sometimes be an overcompensation. As a rule of thumb, a scaffold should be a must for work heights of more than three metres. Project managers can opt to set up their own scaffolding, but setting up for heights of over four metres requires a mobile scaffold hire Wollongong builders trust with a scaffolding ticket.
In high-risk workplace safety law, a scaffolding ticket (also called a high-risk work licence) certifies a scaffolder in the three levels: basic, intermediate, and advanced. SafeWork NSW implements a zero-tolerance policy for non-compliance, in which offenders can be fined hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Scaffolds can be erected up to 30 metres using conventional means. Heights beyond that require more thorough planning and design development because instability becomes more of an issue the higher the scaffolding goes.
Even if the height doesn’t reach the accepted minimum, scaffolding may be worth considering if taking other factors into account. For example, SafeWork NSW reports that workers aged 45 and over are more prone to falling than other age groups. This is a major consideration for projects in which the majority of the workforce is in the specified age group.
How to best use mobile scaffolding?
Scaffolds are among the safest forms of equipment for working in high places, provided they’re utilised as intended. Naturally, static and mobile scaffolds should be erected on a smooth surface that can also bear the weight of workers and their gear.
For the latter, they should be deployed on level ground with an inclination of no more than 1%. Even when the caster wheels are locked, mobile scaffolding on sloped ground may slide down and present a safety hazard. On natural earth, it’s advisable to erect scaffolds on boards or planks to distribute the downward force over a larger area, slowing its sinking.
To move it safely, ensure that no worker or equipment is left on the scaffolding. Otherwise, they can easily be caught off guard when it suddenly starts moving. Not only can this lead to someone falling, but also, falling equipment can leave someone with a concussion. Despite being designed to eliminate constant dismantling, don’t hesitate to do so when in doubt.
While aluminium is also known for its high corrosion resistance, it isn’t impervious. Workers should conduct safety checks before and after use, not to mention after any alterations or following a major incident. The latter includes unintentional hits or extremely rough weather, factors that can compromise the scaffolding’s integrity.
Mobile scaffolding is designed for various construction and improvement works. It offers the sturdiness of conventional scaffolding and the mobility of its caster wheels, allowing it to be deployed wherever needed. Regardless, its benefits can only be appreciated through the proper setup and a mindset focused on safety.
These qualities are also evident in investing in professional scaffolding hires. Don’t hesitate to inquire about your scaffolding options with Skelscaff Scaffolding. Visit this page to learn more about our streamlined process from contact to scaffolding erection.