Scaffolding is the workhorse of construction projects, but it’s not always the only option or the best option. 

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The best alternatives to scaffolding depend on the specific needs of the project. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an alternative to scaffolding:

1. Height required: How high do workers need to reach?

2. Work area: Is the work area spacious enough for scaffolding, or does it require a more compact solution?

3. Work duration: Is it a short-term job or a long-term project requiring frequent repositioning?

4. Accessibility: Does the work area require reaching over obstacles or accessing hard-to-reach areas?

5. Cost-effectiveness: Consider the rental or purchase cost of the equipment compared to the project duration.

Common Alternatives to Scaffolding

Safety is paramount whether it’s around the home or on a worksite.

Always choose equipment that is appropriate for the task, ensure it’s properly inspected and maintained, and provide workers with the necessary training for safe use.

Here are some safety alternatives for those working in high places:

1. Mobile Access Towers

These pre-fabricated towers offer a platform for work at heights, similar to scaffolding. However, they are typically smaller, easier to move around the site, and don’t require assembly.

They’re a good option for jobs with limited space or that require frequent repositioning.

2. Boom Lifts (Cherry Pickers)

These offer a work platform at the end of a hydraulic arm, allowing for precise positioning and a wider range of motion compared to towers or scaffolding.

They’re ideal for tasks requiring frequent movement or reaching over obstacles.

3. Scissor Lifts

These platforms rise vertically on a scissor mechanism, providing a stable work surface.

They’re well-suited for indoor work or tasks requiring a large platform area.

4. Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs)

This broader term encompasses both boom lifts and scissor lifts.

They offer a versatile option for reaching various heights and accessing hard-to-reach areas.

5. Roofing Ladders

For specific roof work,  specially designed extension ladders with stabilizing features can provide a safe and cost-effective solution for short-term tasks.

However, they require proper training and fall protection measures for safe use.

6. Travel Restraint/Positioning Systems

These systems can be used in conjunction with existing structures or suspended work platforms.

Travel trolleys allow workers to move horizontally along a secured track, while bosun chairs provide a supported work position while suspended from a rope system.

7. Void Platforms

A void platform (void deck) isn’t a direct alternative to scaffolding for providing a work platform at various heights.

Scaffolding offers a versatile work area suitable for various construction tasks. However, void platforms can be considered an alternative to scaffolding for the specific purpose of fall protection and/or edge protection.

While scaffolding can be used for work access, it requires additional fall protection measures like guardrails and safety nets. Void platforms that are installed below floor openings act as a fall arrest system, catching potential falls from workers on upper floors.

In essence, void platforms are a targeted fall protection solution, useful for mitigating the risk of falls through floor openings during construction.

Prioritise Safety

Whether you’re doing DIY work on your home or working on a large construction project, finding the safest and most efficient way to access high work areas requires careful consideration of the project’s specific needs.
By evaluating factors like height requirements, work area limitations, and project duration, construction crews can select the most appropriate alternative to traditional scaffolding

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