What is Access Equipment? A Guide to Access Hire

When it comes to working at height, we are all familiar with some of the more traditional means and equipment we have seen over the years. Most people have used a ladder at one time or another, and the sight of scaffolding alerting us to a building refurbishment is part of the urban landscape of just about any town or city around the world.

That said, in the world of construction, maintenance and a number of industrial applications, access solutions play a pivotal role in enabling safe and efficient working environments. Over the years a great number of specialised machines have been developed to ensure safe work at height throughout a broad spectrum of applications.

Types of Access Equipment

Access equipment encompasses an array of machinery and tools designed to facilitate safe work at height in just about any environment imaginable. This includes powered access machines such as cherry pickers and scissor lifts, as well as manual access equipment like scaffold towers, staging boards, trestles, builder stilts and ladders.

Let’s take a look at some of the equipment available through plant and access hire companies such as Beaver Tool Hire, and examine scenarios that the different types of equipment are best suited to.

Powered Access Equipment

Powered access equipment is the name given to the category of machines that use a power source (usually diesel, gas, battery or a combination thereof) for operation. There are various types of machine that fall into this category, each with its own distinct features and functions. These include:

Cherry pickers

Cherry pickers, also known as boom lifts, are a type of aerial work platform that consist of a hydraulic lifting system with an extendable arm and a platform, allowing workers to reach high places safely.

Small trailer-mounted cherry pickers like Niftylift’s Nifty 120T are compact and agile. This particular battery-powered machine is rechargeable via mains cable, can be towed by a medium sized car or van, can reach a height of 12.2 metres and has an outreach of 6.1 metres. Setting them up typically involves stabilising the base with outriggers.
Larger trailer-mounted cherry pickers, like the Niftylift Nifty 150T come with Traction Drive, allowing for easy maneuvering. They can be operated either from the controls on the platform itself or from the base of the machine.

Cherry pickers are invaluable for tasks such as maintenance, installations or repair work in a host of different projects. Industries such as facilities management, construction, electrical services and painting contractors often utilise small cherry pickers due to their versatility and ability to reach heights safely and efficiently.

Scissor Lifts

These platforms function through a network of linked, folding supports that facilitate controlled vertical movement, creating a sturdy and expansive work surface for labourers and equipment. Not having a boom, they can only move up or down, although some are driveable when at full height. These machines are a staple of access hire. They can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on their power source and the emissions they produce.

Work in low emission zones or indoors usually requires that machines produce a low level of particle emissions, which is typically achieved by electric or hybrid machines. Scissor lifts are used across a wide range of industries like construction, warehousing, maintenance and event industries.

Vertical Mast Lifts

Power Towers are a type of vertical mast lift. They are small, compact, easy to operate and can manoeuvre through tight spaces easily, making them ideal for working indoors. The Power Tower Nano SP  has a platform that can be extended manually providing an outreach of 0.5 metres. Operators have full control of the machine on the platform, making it ideal for tasks requiring rapid and hassle-free access. Industries such as retail, facilities management and event setup rely on Power Towers for their versatility and ease of use.

Manual Access Equipment

Scaffold Towers like Beaver Tool Hire’s narrow width and double width towers, provide stable multi-level platforms. They are indispensable in construction and renovation endeavours, ensuring safe access to elevated areas.

Erecting these towers involves assembling sections to desired heights, securing them and implementing safety measures. Widely favoured in construction, they provide secure working platforms for tasks like painting, plastering and installation works.

Stairwell Towers are one step ahead of the game, made specifically for navigating staircases and tricky spaces. They guarantee secure access during building construction or renovation. Setting up these towers requires configuring them to fit staircases.They allow you to reach places that other manual access solutions don’t.

Podium Steps are a safe alternative to short step ladders. They are generally lightweight and easy to erect. They provide a non-slip platform, guard-rails and locking wheels. They are great for warehouses and retail settings, providing easily reachable elevated platforms for tasks like stock management, maintenance or inventory checks.

One-Person Mobile Towers are at the top of the game when it comes to manual access. They are lightweight and designed to be easily moved and set up by one person. They can fit through standard doorways and condense down into a trolley for fast storage and easy access, making them ideal for working in tight spaces.

Ladders, Trestles, Staging Boards, Builder Stilts: This array of manual equipment provides adaptable solutions for various height and access requirements in construction and maintenance tasks. Ladders offer portable, single-point access, while trestles and staging boards create elevated platforms for extended work.

Builder stilts are a great option for painting and plastering ceilings or performing other tasks in high areas. They allow for the task to be completed without the worker having to constantly go up and down a step ladder. These tools cater to a wide range of tasks, and are essential for many DIY projects.

Applications and Industries

Access equipment serves multifaceted roles across various industries.

● In construction, scaffold towers, scissor lifts and cherry pickers are indispensable for tasks like erecting structures, applying finishes at heights and conducting maintenance. Scaffold towers ensure safe access for plastering and bricklaying, contributing to efficiency and safety.
● In warehouses, scissor lifts and podium steps streamline stock management, aiding in inventory checks and facilitating repairs at varying heights. They are pivotal for reaching both elevated storage areas and lower levels swiftly.
● Industries specialising in facilities management heavily rely on vertical mast lifts for tasks such as changing light fixtures and conducting ceiling repairs in office buildings and public spaces.
● In telecommunications, Power Towers and scissor lifts are crucial for installing and maintaining infrastructure at different heights, ensuring uninterrupted connectivity.
● Even in the film and entertainment industry, cherry pickers and scissor lifts support the creation of safe setups for filming and stage arrangements, enabling the execution of ambitious technical elements.

Choose Beaver Tool Hire for Access Equipment Hire

If you are interested in access hire solutions for your project, speak to Beaver Tool Hire today. With branches in Chichester, Petersfield, Waterlooville, Portsmouth, Fareham, Winchester and our newest depot in Worthing we are conveniently located to provide leading tool hire services throughout Hampshire and West Sussex. Get in touch today on 01243 782510 to find out about the best access hire solution for your project. Our friendly team is always happy to help.