Using a Stair Tower Instead of a Ladder to Access a Scaffolding Platform
We highly recommend using a stair tower to access a scaffolding platform whenever possible. We carry what is called internal stair units. These units fit on the inside of a walk-through set of scaffolding and have a 5’X7′ footprint. On the first level of the stair tower, a starter bar must be placed at the bottom of the scaffolding frames where the entrance to the stairs will be. This starter bar will hold the lower part of the stair unit in place. We also put a gooser on the first level of the tower to add stability. With the starter bar and gooser in place, the stair units simply hook into the horizontal members of the scaffolding. The stairs are then secured by pins and the guardrail assembly is put in and secured by wing nuts.
The stair unit is 22″ wide so two may be placed on the inside of one set of our SWS-610B Walk Through Frames. The base of each stair unit contains a landing platform. When going up multiple levels, the base each additional stair can be placed alongside the top of the lower stair unit with each unit facing a different direction. This is the easiest way o assemble the tower if access is only needed at the top and not at multiple levels as you go up the scaffolding.
If access is needed at each scaffolding level as you go up, the stair towers will all need to face the same direction and one half of the scaffolding section will need to be planked so that you can either get off on a particular level or walk around to the next stair section. In this situation, half of the scaffolding bay is used as stairs and half is planked. In between the stairs and the planks, we use a top rail that has clamps on each end. The top rail holds guardrail posts and guardrails and eliminates the fall hazard between the stairs and the planks.
The advantage of a stair system is that it’s much safer to climb than a ladder, climbing stairs is much faster than climbing a ladder, the stairs can hold a larger volume of workers than the ladder, and the workers are able to carry their tools and materials with them instead of using a hoist or forklift.
On medium and large, sized projects, the stairs will more than pay for themselves by allowing for more production from your workers.