Access equipment is any sort of device that allows people to get up or down from a floor, platform, or structure. Are you wondering that what are types of access equipment are used in construction and many other jobs? So, this article is for you as it will discuss 20 types of access equipment.
20 Types Of Access Equipment That You Might Not Know
There are many different types of access equipment, depending on what you wish to use them for. For example, if you were going climbing or working at a height then it would be advisable to have ladders and scaffolding.
However, this is not the only type of access equipment different needs will require a certain type of equipment. Following are the different types of access equipment.
Ladders are the classic access equipment. They consist of a set of steps, usually, metal or fiberglass surrounded by a frame – this is held up with tension from the other end which will either be on the floor or another level above.
Ladders can vary in size and material, but they should always have safety features such as slip-resistant feet, rigid steps, and even handrails on taller ones. These are invaluable when working at height as they provide a stable base to work from and prevent the worker from falling backward.
- Single ladder, where the person is either climbing up or down.
- Extension ladders can be extended when in use to reach higher levels.
- Step ladders are small, one step high so you don’t have far to climb. They also come with a handle at the top to easily carry. These are perfect for reaching those hard-to-reach places!
Forklift trucks are self-propelled machines that can lift heavy objects such as scaffold boards, timber, and IBR panels. They come in all shapes and sizes and can vary depending on how heavy the load is and where it needs to go.
When using a forklift truck to carry something, you must know what you are doing and how to use them safely.
- Pallet Forklifts come with an integral pallet, so it is perfect for transporting IBR panels and bricks
- Reach Forklift Trucks have a movable fork so you can lift and carry objects at head height
- Rough Terrain Forklift Trucks can travel across rougher ground and obstacles thanks to the high ground clearance
- Diesel Forklift Trucks are the most common type and cost more, but they have a higher capacity
3. Ropes And Harnesses
Ropes are one of the most vital pieces of equipment for working at height as it allows you to tie yourself onto an object or another person. Because it is attached firmly, it gives you support and keeps you safe from falling. These are useful on really tall buildings or when working at an awkward angle.
Harnesses work in a similar way to ropes but what makes them different is that it offers more support, for example, if wearing a heavy tool belt. They can be used by themselves or alongside another piece of equipment such as a scissor lift.
- Fall Arrest Harnesses are designed to protect the user from falling, so the ideal option is if you are working on a building site where there is potential for debris to fall on you.
- Rescue Harnesses are worn by professionals who have been trained in rescuing people. This means that if there were an emergency or something went wrong, you could climb down the ladder and untie yourself.
- Work Positioning Harnesses are similar to fall arrest ones, but they can be worn when in a seated or kneeling position. This means that it is safest when working at awkward angles or even in low light.
4. Push Around MEWPs
Push Around MEWPs are small machines that can be used for almost any job. Like ladders, they have a frame with steps but rather than being held up by tension, the machine itself will hold it in place. These are great for longer jobs as you can use both hands to work safely at whatever height you need.
The MEWP also has a seat so you can sit down while working. This makes it far more comfortable when working at a high level for a long time.
- Electric MEWPs have a battery, so they are easy to transport around. They can run for several hours on one charge and are the more popular choice.
- Petrol MEWPs are stronger but work slightly differently. They can be started with a push-button rather than an electric key.
- Pedestrian MEWPs have limited movement and are only suitable for very short distances. They remain stationary when in use.
- Mobile MEWPs can be moved from place to place with ease, making them great for a one-off job or if you have several different levels that need working on.
5. Equipment Platforms
Equipment platforms, also known as Elevated Work Platforms (EWP’s) are useful for working at height. They come in all shapes and sizes, with their size determining how much weight they can carry safely. They are controlled either by a person or with an attached power source.
- Wheel Mounted EWP’s can be moved across the site with ease, making them popular for a one-off job such as installing an antenna.
- Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPS) are perfect when you need to work on a tall object such as a chimney or tower block. They will climb up and down by themselves and you can control them with a remote or joystick.
- Outrigger EWPs are designed to give more stability and allow for a bigger work platform, increasing your safety and comfort on site.
Scaffolding is a structure that consists of a set of metal poles and planks. This provides a stable platform for workers to stand on, giving them more room to work. Scaffold towers are very similar as they give you even more height, but they lack the plank flooring as this can be dangerous if it suddenly gives way, which is why they are sometimes called ‘permanent’ scaffolds.
- Scaffold Towers are a good choice if you need to work at a height that is over 7 meters. They can be dismantled and moved across the site easily
- Folding Scaffold Towers offer the same benefits as towers, but they come in flat packs, making them less likely to get damaged or stolen when transporting them from one location to another.
7. Scissor Lift Tables And Vertical Mast Ladders
Similar to ladders in shape and support, Scissor lift tables and vertical mast ladders are similar as they both have a pole with steps attached. The difference is that scissor lifts can be used on their own without any other equipment to hold it up and the ladder will need something like a forklift or MEWP to stay up.
Scissor Lift Tables Version
– Self Propelled Scissor Lift Tables are the safest choice as they can be moved around the site on their own and automatically move to wherever you want them. This includes downstairs or upstairs, saving time and making your job that bit easier.
Vertical Mast Ladders Version
– Vertical Mast Ladders with Outriggers are designed for stability when working at height. They offer a bigger, wider work platform and can be locked in place, so it won’t move around or slip away when being used.
8. Vertical Lifts
Vertical lifts are a very common piece of equipment found on construction sites and can come in all shapes and sizes, like the above scaffolding, to match the type of job they will be used for. They provide an easier way to get onto your next level in a building rather than having to use a ladder or scissor lift.
- Pedestrian Vertical Lifts are used for moving people vertically, so they are only open on one side.
- Freight Vertical Lifts can carry heavier loads, but they won’t have the same capacity as a scissor lift.
9. Narrow Aisle Trucks And Platform Trucks
Narrow aisle trucks and platform trucks are similar in that they both have a narrow wheelbase. This makes it easier to get into tight spaces such as small warehouses or under the raised flooring of a building. They can also be used on staircases and indoors without damaging the flooring.
Narrow Aisle Trucks Versions
- Manual Narrow Aisle Trucks are operated by the person pushing them around. This gives them complete control to go at their own pace, but it can be time-consuming when you have to constantly move the truck every time you make progress on your work.
- Powered Narrow Aisle Trucks save time as they don’t have to be pushed around and can carry a larger load.
Platform Trucks Versions
- Manual Platform Trucks are good for creating temporary platforms out of thin air as it doesn’t require a pre-existing structure, but they don’t have the capacity or stability of other equipment.
- Powered Platform Trucks allow you to work at height, but they require a solid structural base to stand on, like scaffolds or ladders.
10. Rollators And Pivoting Floor Cranes
Rollators vary in design, but the main difference is how far it travels which decides what will be underneath them when extended. It is comprised of a walkway platform, a mast, and a telescopic boom arm. It is useful for indoor jobs where there are no steps involved.
- Manual Rollators come in different models and sizes, and they all fold up into a small size that is easy to transport.
- Self Propelled Rollators can be moved around the site on their own and offer the best option for working indoors as they don’t cause any damage to a floor.
Pivoting Floor Cranes Versions
- Electric Pivoting Floor Cranes can be moved around the site on their own, but they take a while to set up and adjust.
- Hydraulic Pivoting Floor Cranes are similar to electric pivoting floor cranes without the need for a power source, which makes them great for when there isn’t access to electricity. They are used the same way as an electric pivoting floor crane, so they can replace one another.
11. Cherry Picker
As you might have guessed from the name, cherry pickers are very similar to a lift. They have a basket at the end which can carry 1 – 3 people and come in all different variations of size, power, and function. These are good for short to medium-height jobs.
- Small Cherry Pickers are used for indoor jobs that don’t require the basket to be at a high height.
- Medium Size Cherry Pickers have big baskets which can carry up to 3 people and they are good for working indoors or outdoors, but they don’t go over 10 meters.
- High Reach Cherry Pickers have long arms which can reach high altitudes and they are mainly used on large outdoor structures.
12. Personnel Lift
A personnel lift is a smaller version of a cherry picker and can carry 1 – 2 people depending on the size of the basket. They are good for short-height jobs but can be adapted to reach higher heights by attaching them to a scissor lift or other MEWP.
- Electric Personnel Lifts can be moved around the site on their own, but they don’t have any power source, so they need to be plugged in.
- Hydraulic Personnel Lifts are similar to electric personnel lifts without the need for a power source, which makes them great for when there isn’t access to electricity. They are used the same way as an electric personnel lift, so they can replace one another.
13. Trailer Mounted Boom Lifts
Similar to cherry pickers, trailer-mounted boom lifts have a basket at the end which can carry 1 – 4 people depending on the size of the basket. They are good for short to medium-height jobs and can be towed behind a truck or other vehicle.
- Electric Trailer Mounted Boom Lifts are good for creating temporary platforms out of thin air as it doesn’t require a pre-existing structure, but they don’t have the capacity or stability of other equipment.
- Manual Trailer Mounted Boom Lifts are great for indoor jobs where there are no steps involved, but they take longer to set up than electric trailer-mounted boom lifts.
- Self Propelled Trailer Mounted Boom Lifts are good for when you don’t have the option to get power onto the site, but they take a while to set up and adjust. They can be towed around the site with an ordinary car or truck which makes them perfect for short-term projects.
14. Telescopic Boom Lifts
Telescopic boom lifts are similar to cherry pickers as they have a basket at the end which can carry 1 – 3 people. The only difference is that it has a telescopic support mast rather than having wheels under them, so they’re usually banned from indoor use.
- Electric Telescopic Boom Lifts are good for indoor use, but it takes a lot of power to tow them around the site.
- Diesel Powered Telescopic Boom Lifts have a diesel engine that needs to be refueled regularly, but there is no need for an electricity supply to run the unit. They take a long time to set up, but they are great for long-term projects.
- Manual Telescopic Boom Lifts are good for indoor use, but it takes a lot of time and effort to set them up so it might not be worth the trouble.
15. Mobile Access Towers
These MEWPs can travel up to 20m high and have a basket that can carry 1 – 3 people depending on the size of the basket. They are good for short to medium height jobs depending on the size of them.
- X Frame Mobile Access Towers can travel up to 20m high and they have a small footprint, so it takes very little time to set them up. They are suitable for indoor use as well as outdoor jobs.
- Straight Mast Mobile Access Towers can reach heights of around 30m and has more room inside the basket than X-frame mobile access towers, but it takes a lot more time and effort to set them up. They’re usually used for medium-height jobs.
- Straight Mast Mobile Access Towers With Stairs These mobile access towers have an X-shaped support mast which is great for working on tall buildings, but they take longer to set up than the straight mast mobile access towers.
16. Podium Platforms
When working at ground level, a podium platform can be used as a safety barrier between the ground and the person using the access equipment. This is one of those ‘better safes than sorry’ items which you should always use when working at height.
- Standard Podium Platforms have a small footprint, so they don’t take up much room, but they only reach heights of around 2m.
- Telescopic Podium Platforms can reach heights of around 5m and can be adjusted as the job progresses, which is very useful. They are good for short to medium-height jobs.
- Fixed Podium Platforms have a large footprint so they can’t be moved once they have been put in place, but the height cannot fluctuate at all. This is good for when something has to stay a fixed height, or you don’t want it to move if there’s a large amount of wind.
17. Light Towers
Light towers are a safe alternative to using handheld generators or leads which could cause you to get electrocuted. They have a long reach so can be used with almost any machine available. They are also mobile so can be moved around easily based on where you need the power supply at the time.
- Double light towers have two lights, one on either side of the tower. This is useful in dark areas where you can’t see what’s underneath your access equipment.
- Tripod light towers are mobile so they can be moved around depending on where you need the power supply at the time which is good for short to medium height jobs.
- Fixed light towers are fixed to one spot so they’re useful for permanent locations where power is readily available, e.g., you need a light at the top of a ladder or lift which will stay there permanently without moving around.
18. Push-Around Lifts
Push-Around Lifts are good for medium height jobs because you can set them anywhere from 2m-8m high. These MEWPs have a smaller footprint than both telescopic and vertical platform lifts, but this is balanced out by the fact that they can only travel up to 8m high compared with 20m or more for vertical platform lifts.
- Fixed Push-Around Lifts are fixed in one spot so they’re useful for permanent locations where power is readily available, e.g., you need a light at the top of a ladder or lift which will stay there permanently without moving around. They’re also good when working near windows as it provides a secure barrier between the platform and the ground.
- Fixed Push-Around Lifts With Stairs come with a stairway inside for easy access, which is useful if you need to take equipment up with you. They’re good for indoors or outdoors where there are no security barriers around your lift to stop people from getting onto the platform while you’re working. They also provide a secure barrier between the platform and ground if there’s nothing around to stop someone from getting onto it.
- Telescopic Push-Around Lifts have a long arm that allows them to reach high into the sky, but they only travel up to 8m high compared with 20m or more for vertical platform lifts. This is good for when you need to take equipment up with you, but want a smaller footprint than a mobile access tower.
19. Building Maintenance Units (BMU)
BMU is good for indoor use where you cannot access the outside of the building, such as maintenance or rewiring jobs. You can even power up an electrical generator inside to power up your MEWP. You can get BMU in either self-propelled or trailer versions.
- Self Propelled BMU is mounted on a self-propelled chassis that glides across the floor, but this also means that it has to stay flat so you can’t take equipment up with you.
- Trailer Mounted BMU are towed behind trailers which allows them to get onto different types of surfaces, but they cannot travel too far off-road.
20. Scaffold Towers And Scaffold Booms
Scaffold towers are usually rolled out on wheels to where you need them but can be raised using a hydraulic arm if needed. Scaffold booms are larger versions that have 2 – 3 levels to work from. They’re useful when you need to get people up high to access difficult spots, e.g., repairing windows in old churches or offices.
- Fixed or Folding Scaffold Towers stay in one spot, but they don’t fold down for easy transportation as scaffold booms do. They are good where security is an issue because you cannot move them around.
- Telescopic Scaffold Towers come with a long arm that allows you to reach high into the sky and they fold up for easy transportation, but they only travel up to 20m high compared with 40m or more for vertical platform lifts. They’re good where security is an issue because you cannot move them around.
- Self Propelled Scaffold Booms are mounted on a self-propelled chassis that glides across the floor, but this also means that it has to stay flat so you can’t take equipment up with you. They’re good where security is an issue because you cannot move them around.
Types Of Access Equipment – Conclusion
At the end of this article, you should have a good idea of the different types of access equipment but also be aware that sometimes it pays to get advice from specialists when choosing your equipment or working out what best suits your needs.
One reason for this is because there are so many options available these days that if you’re not familiar with them, it will be difficult to know which one you need.
Hello, I am Aatka Azhar. I have done bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Writing articles is my passion through which I explore so many things. So, I am using my passion by working here and it will be the source of knowledge for the readers.