Ladders Vs Scaffold Tower - Which One Do You Need?
If you need to carry out work in hard-to-reach areas, you need reliable equipment to get you there safely. A good ladder or scaffold tower can be useful for this situation, but it can be difficult to judge which is the better option for your needs. Using the right equipment is fundamental to avoiding accidents, and ladders are responsible for a lot of injuries from falls in the UK.

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To avoid this happening to you, we have compiled this guide to deciding between a ladder and an aluminium scaffold tower for your job.


A ladder is quick to set up and climb, but this convenience comes at the cost of reduced safety. Ladders are not as safe as work platforms with edge protection, so they should only be used in:

Situations deemed to be low-risk and for light work. A risk assessment should be carried out to discern whether a higher level of protection against falling is needed.

Short-duration jobs. This should not be an absolute deciding factor, but if the work can be completed in 30 minutes or less, then a properly secured ladder or step ladder may be sufficient.

Situations where existing features on site prevent the use of safer work equipment.

Safe scenarios, meaning that it will be easy to safely position a ladder that is stable and secure. It should also be practical to ascend the ladder.

Be aware that ladders should only be used by competent individuals. They should have had guidance on how to use a ladder safely.

Scaffold Towers

As you might expect, a scaffold tower is a good option where a ladder would be deemed to be unsafe. Though it is more complex and time-consuming to assemble, it greatly reduces the risk of a fall.

Of course, scaffold tower safety should be followed at all times, but consider using one if:

You have doubts about the safety aspect of using a ladder. A risk assessment on site should help establish this, considering things like the height, the type and duration of the work, and the quality of the ground upon which it rests.

If the job will need more than one person to carry out. Ladders are only suitable for a single person, while a scaffold tower can accommodate two or more individuals at once.

If the work is heavy or strenuous, requiring extra stability for you to do it safely.

Many people believe DIY work doesn’t need a scaffold tower but this is not always true. When working on the exterior of your home, consider all the hazards and don’t rule out any possible solutions. You can never be too safe and scaffolding greatly reduces the risk of significant injury.

To learn more, check out our range at Ability International. We welcome you to contact us if you have any questions about the safest way to carry out your job.

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