Stair Towers vs. Scaffold Ladder – Which to Use?
We have noticed a trend over the last year where contractors are turning to stairs in lieu of ladders to access their scaffolding.
Advantages of Stair Towers
First, stair towers are much safer! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1/7th of all fatal fall injuries are falls off ladders. https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0009.pdf. Stairs offer fall protection in the form of side rails all the way up. One slip on a ladder can prove fatal. Windy, wet or cold weather can affect ladder access and safety much more that it affects the safety of stair towers.
Stairs provide faster access to the scaffolding platform because multiple workers can use them simultaneously and even in different directions. Ladders are like a slow one-way street and stairs are like a two lane road. Last, workers can carry tools and equipment with them up the stairs, which is safer than carrying them up a ladder. With stair towers, fewer materials and tool need to be brought up by the forklift, so your crews can man and supply the scaffolding platform faster and get to work faster with less downtime.
Advantages of Scaffolding Ladders
While scaffolding stairs provide some good advantages over scaffold ladders, they are not practical for every situation. In some cases, scaffold ladders have the advantage. First, scaffold ladders are useful in tight spaces. Stair towers have a 5’X7′ footprint, which is a lot of space, while our scaffold ladders have about a 1.5′ X 1.5′ footprint. Scaffold ladders are faster to assemble and require fewer materials and they may be more practical when there will be less ingress and egress onto the scaffolding platform or when the scaffolding platform is not very high.
Stair Tower vs. Scaffold Ladders Conclusion
We recommend using stairs to access your scaffolding whenever possible. Not only are they safer in virtually every situation but they will also increase productivity on medium to large project.
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