PASMA to evaluate tower erection methods

By Murray Pollok12 May 2010

One of two PASMA approved methods for assembling mobile scaffold towers-the Advance Guardrail System

One of two PASMA approved methods for assembling mobile scaffold towers-the Advance Guardrail System

Mobile access tower association PASMA is to technically evaluate the two most common methods of tower erection to provide an objective assessement of the benefits of each system.

The methods are the so-called 3T technique and the advance guardrail method. 3T stands for 'through the trap', and was established five years ago and is endorsed by the HSE. It is based on the use of a trapdoor in the platform through which erectors can install guardrails from below before moving to the next height.

The advance guardrail system uses specially designed temporary guardrail units, which are locked in place from the level below and moved up to the platform level. The temporary rails provide fall protection before the operator moves to the platform to fit the permanent guardrails.

The tests will be carried out on 15-16 June by PASMA's technical manager, Don Aers. PASMA manufacturer members are being asked to provide samples of their towers using both systems (if they provide both) to undergo testing on issues including ergonomics, safety and manual handling. Manufacturers will be invited to a debriefing session the week after the tests.

Peter Bennett, managing director of PASMA, said; "There are claims and counter claims (made for the two methods), so we want to get it sorted out." He told AI that the next step in the process would be to involve the HSE in the discussion of the results.

Mr Bennett was speaking at the Safety & Health Expo at the NEC exhibition centre in Birmingham, UK, where PASMA was participating in the Access Industry Forum's 'Knowledge Base' - a series of seminars, debates and presentations on safe working at height.

PASMA's contribution was a set of debates between members of Glasgow University's student debating team on access tower safety issues, including the choice between 3T and advance guardrail. In that debate it was 3T that came out as the winner.

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