Choosing The Right Height-Access Equipment: Part 1

A – 04-ah-12-eb-articulating-boom-access-platform

When you are planning to undertake a project, no matter how small it seems, you need to assess the risks. The next step is to choose the right height-access equipment to help get the job done right.

By choosing the best equipment for the task, you aren’t just ensuring the speed and accuracy, you are keeping the workers safe.

Common Types of Height-Access Equipment

There are several common types of height-access equipment that many companies and project managers consider.


  1. Ladder

A ladder is a simple tool, which doesn’t need a substantial investment. However, it works only for a limited number of projects and scenarios:

  • You don’t need to reach excessive heights.
  • Your task takes less than 30 – 40 minutes.
  • You can ensure three points of contact at all times.
  • You don’t need to take heavy tools and equipment with you.

Ladders are moderately priced, easy to transport, and can help reach some tough spots. However, in the safety rating of height-access equipment, they claim one of the lowest positions.

  1. Scaffolding

Scaffolding is easy to set up and secure. It allows vertical access to many objects. For big jobs, it’s still one of the most used solutions in the world. Cleaning, painting, and façade repairing is simplified by using scaffolding.

However, this height access equipment is expensive and bulky. You need to plan for transportation and storage, which isn’t always convenient. The scaffolding’s steel frame is heavy and prone to rust. While lighter aluminum frames are available, they can’t go up as high as steel scaffolding.

Another option is scaffold towers. These towers are movable and freestanding. They can reach over 12 meters high. The workers’ safety on these towers may be compromised if they are incorrectly installed near the power lines.

  1. Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are a more expensive piece of height-access equipment. Yet they are designed to deal with reaching tough spots while ensuring the safety of the worker. They allow lifting heavy equipment to big heights while letting the worker feel comfortable on the platform.

Depending on the size of your project, you can choose a spider lift with a large platform to lift several workers. Scissor lifts can work at heights over 18 meters. They come in a variety of widths, allowing you to work in narrow spaces.

To be continued in the next post.



The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the MEWP rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.
- Read more