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Access towers are extremely useful equipment for working at height. They can be used in a wide variety of scenarios including on construction sites and when working on residential or commercial buildings. Whether it’s maintenance work, exterior painting and refurbishment or the erection of new buildings or installations, access towers are an essential part of many building projects.

To help you understand more about access towers and their uses, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide. When you want advice on hiring and safely using an access tower, at Access Towers, we have years of expertise to ensure you are fully informed.

Preparing a site for an access tower

Before using an access tower, an in-depth risk assessment of the site and the tower should be conducted. This must be done by a person who has received the appropriate training such as PASMA. The individual should conduct a risk assessment of the site looking for any potential hazards that may pose a danger to the tower users. Low-hanging trees, out-buildings, and uneven ground should all be assessed and the best place for erecting the tower chosen accordingly.

Once the risk assessment has been completed and signed off, the tower is ready to be assembled. A competent person must assemble the tower; preferably someone who has completed a PASMA training course. Once assembled, a pre-use inspection will ensure that the tower is completely safe and ready to use.

During the time that the tower is on site, regular safety checks should be carried out. This will ensure that safety is never compromised, and the tower will remain stable and in excellent usable condition. Any people who use the tower directly or those who work in nearby areas must be fully compliant with all safety regulations. Once the tower is no longer needed, it should be dismantled by a trained individual.

Access towers erection and disassembly


At Access Towers, we provide comprehensive guidance and advice on how to erect, use, and dismantle an access tower. We offer PASMA training courses from our Croydon headquarters to ensure that all our customers are competent when working from height.

Access towers should always be erected using a safe and methodical approach. The two main methods of access tower assembly are:

  • Advance guard rail system – Temporary guard rail units are locked in place from a lower level. They are then moved up to the working platform level. The temporary guard rails must be secured in place before the operator can access the platform to install the permanent rails.
  • Through-the-trap (3T) system – Guard rail components are added and removed from a working position in the trap door. This method ensures that an operator does not stand on an unguarded platform.

When it’s time to dismantle the tower, this should preferably be done by the same person who erected the unit. The process above should be completed in reverse with the installer working from top to bottom.

Using and moving an access tower

When using an access tower, safety should always be the primary consideration for all users. Important things to consider include:

  • Never use an access tower in strong winds
  • Never misuse a tower ie. By leaning other equipment against the tower
  • Always ensure the tower is correctly assembled
  • Carry out regular safety inspections
  • Ensure the surrounding area is free from hazards
  • Ensure all operators and people on site are compliant with health and safety regulations

Due care and attention should always be taken whenever there is a need to move the tower. Some access towers are fitted with wheels for ease of movement. If you do need to move a tower, the following rules will help to maintain on site safety.

  • Reduce the tower’s height to a maximum of four metres
  • Ensure that there are no overhead obstructions (trees, power lines etc.)
  • Ensure the ground is flat, firm, and free from obstructions and potholes
  • Use the base to push or pull the tower to avoid the tower tilting and falling

Essential safety for access towers use

Cantilever Tower

Attending a PASMA course is the best way to learn about the safe use of access towers. These courses are designed to improve user safety and highlight the dangers involved when working from height. Awareness of current Working at Height Regulations will also help to ensure safety standards are upheld when using an access tower.

Alongside the appropriate training and knowledge of safe working practices, it’s a good idea to have some general understanding of safety when using an access tower. Some useful safety considerations to bear in mind include:

  • Choose the most appropriate tower for the work you are planning
  • If a regular tower check finds a problem, stop all work immediately until the problem is fixed
  • Follow the assembly and usage instructions
  • Avoid using the tower in harsh weather conditions
  • Avoid using a tower on uneven ground
  • Avoid overhead obstructions
  • Ensure all operators are fully compliant with correct usage procedures

By following these guidelines, you will significantly reduce the chance of on-site accidents and safeguard all workers against danger.

If you’d like to find out more about our range of access equipment, get in touch today. You can call us on 0208 665 1181 or send us a message online.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered working at height?

Anything above ground level is considered Working at Height. Access Towers are a large provider of PASMA Training and sit within the top 5% in the UK, allowing us to train the full range of 1-Day PASMA Courses to suit any of your work at height Tower Training requirements.

What are the working at height regulations?

It is recommended by Health & Safety standards that those who are assembling Towers should be PASMA Trained. This will give operatives a 5-year qualification of competency for the use of mobile towers.

Do I need to have a licence/certificate to use the equipment?

Certifications will vary depending on what equipment you’re hiring. It’s always best to speak with our Hire Desk if you are unsure, where they can advise what will be best for you or in more advanced working conditions, we can install onsite.

What are the different training sessions you offer & who are they for?

Training courses are for anyone using the equipment, from commercially to domestically. These will range from PASMA Training for the use of Towers, IPAF Training for the use of MEWPS as well as various other courses such as Safety Harness Training and First Aid.

How do I know which equipment will be right for the job?

Our Hire Desk are trained across the full range of work at height stock available and will be able to advise and assist cost-free.

How quickly can you supply the tower(s)?

We aim for a next-day turnaround, this is dependent on the transport routes and how busy we are at the time. It works both ways and could be earlier than your requested date.