Access towers are widely available from hire centres, stores and online marketplaces. Every day, thousands of them are used in workplaces and homes by people who need to work at height.

PASMA strives for a world where, when assembled and used correctly, every one of those towers is safe.

Unfortunately, despite existing legislation and regulations making clear that all products on the market must be safe and existing design standards being well established, there are still towers out there that are not safe at all. These so-called ‘DIY towers’ are readily available and easy to buy online.

To gather intelligence on the state of the market, PASMA undertook market surveillance on ‘DIY towers’ for sale in the UK, putting a selection of them through a series of robust safety tests. We did this in partnership with the Test & Research Centre, the first UKAS-accredited test laboratory for BS EN 1004. What we uncovered was shocking.

Here’s a summary of what we found: –

  • Instruction manuals that lack crucial safety information, leaving users guessing.
  • Ladder rungs that buckle when weight is applied or that don’t offer a firm foothold.
  • Inadequate fall prevention features, including gaps big enough for a person to fall through.
  • Weak components that may buckle or break.
  • Components that can be inadvertently dislodged, risking catastrophic failure.
  • Towers that cannot be levelled, except on perfectly even ground.
  • Basic safety features like platforms and stabilisers offered as ‘optional extras’ or missing altogether.
  • In every ‘DIY tower’ tested, numerous issues were identified that increase the risk of the tower overturning or collapsing, or of a person falling from height.

Choose a tower that is certified to BS EN 1004-1 or BS 1139-6: –

  • Double check the tower has all the safety features you should expect – watch our helpful video for details!
  • Remember safety isn’t an ‘optional extra’ – everything you need to use the tower safely should be provided as standard.
  • Don’t lower your standards at home: if you wouldn’t accept it at work, don’t use it at home.
  • Read reviews carefully, and look beyond the star rating.
  • Buy or hire your tower from a PASMA member – it’s your shortcut to making sure it’s a safe product, as only manufacturing and supplying towers that are certified to the most up-to-date standards is a condition of membership.

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