PASMA complex tower course re-launch

By Euan Youdale07 September 2020

PASMA has relaunched its training scheme for complex aluminium access towers, with a new name for those who complete the challenging programme.

Rather than Tower Riggers, those who pass the course will be known as Access Tower Specialists, allowing them to build all types of tower, including bespoke structures designed to meet the needs of a site, however tall, wide or awkward it may be.

PASMA instructor carries out training

It is the highest qualification available for access towers, aimed at those with considerable experience. They will already be trained on all standard configuration towers – those that come in a kit with an instruction manual – but the Access Tower Specialist course takes them to the next level.

Those who pass all the theory and practical assessments are qualified to use prefabricated aluminium components in surprisingly complex configurations that can go to much greater heights than standard towers.

The structures they build allow others to work safely at height in sectors such as construction and the built environment, maintenance, facilities management and aerospace. Their service is known as hire & assembly and it covers equipment rental, consultation, specification, design, assembly and dismantling. Working closely with tower manufacturers, they can:

  • Plan the build
  • Select safe equipment
  • Follow design drawings
  • Assemble and dismantle
  • Make engineer-approved alterations
  • Tie structures into buildings
  • Inspect towers
  • Collate all paperwork
  • Conduct safe handovers

Although they’re competent on all standard configuration towers, mobile access towers, cantilever towers, towers on bridges, tower on stairways, large deck towers and linked towers, it’s bespoke structures that truly showcase their abilities.

These towers can go tall and wide, around, over and under obstacles, give access to multiple levels or stairwells, provide large (and mobile) deck areas, squeeze into tight spaces and be adapted as requirements evolve. Doing all of this with lightweight, prefabricated aluminium components is a specialist skill that is not taught anywhere else.

The chair of PASMA’s Hire & Assembly Committee and owner of STS Access, Pete Harley, said, “For too many years, complex towers were something you learned on the job. There was no one checking that the knowledge being handed down was correct, consistent or comprehensive and there was no way for workers to prove their competence. The Access Tower Specialist course from PASMA, the recognised subject matter experts, has changed all that.”

“Nowadays, when an experienced tower operative is ready to learn the advanced skills they need to work with bespoke structures safely, there’s a formal training programme for that, and they’ll get an Access Tower Specialist PASMA card at the end of it. I’ve seen what a huge help this has been to safety professionals and site managers who need a reliable way to check the competence of workers on their projects.”

It course will be delivered by PASMA at its Test & Research Centre in Cambridgeshire; a dedicated facility for work at height testing and training. PASMA recently invested close to £1 million in purchasing and equipping the facility, with a key requirement being a 25m clear headroom where tall, complex tower structures can be built.


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