Do you need the manufacturer’s instruction manual to assemble a tower?

Quite simply – if you don’t have a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions, you cannot assemble the tower.  You can find PASMA registered manufacturers instruction manuals either on their websites or here.

If you hire a tower you should be issued a copy by the hire company.  When you are assembling, altering or dismantling a mobile tower:

  • You must have a copy of the correct instructions with you
  • You must note all of the safety information, the schedule of components and follow the step by step instructions every time and you must do this even if you are a PASMA trained operative
  • Remember your PASMA training – no instruction manual means you cannot assemble the tower!

When should mobile towers be inspected?

Towers must be inspected as often as is necessary to ensure safety.

PASMA recommends that on towers where it is possible to fall 2m or more you should carry out inspections after assembly or significant alteration, before use and following any event likely to have affected the towers stability or structural integrity.  You should complete and issue the inspection report in accordance with the requirements of the work at Height Regulations. Re-inspect the tower as often as is necessary to ensure safety but at least every 7 days and issue a new report each time.

You do not need to re-inspect the tower if it is moved unless it was necessary to significantly alter it to make that movement or if anything happens when moving it that may have affected its safety.

A tower from which it is possible to fall a distance of less than 2m has different inspection requirements. It must be inspected after assembly, and before use; after any event likely to have affected its stability or structural integrity and at suitable intervals depending on frequency and conditions of use.

PASMA recommends the use of the PASMA Tower Inspection Record which not only gives a visual indicator of the tower’s inspection status but also, when affixed to the tower and retained on completion, satisfies the inspection requirements of the Work at Height Regulations  PASMA has produced a pocket card and posters explaining the inspection requirements for mobile towers.  The Inspection Records, pocket card and poster may be purchased on the online shop.

Is it acceptable to assemble a mobile tower on a slope?

That depends on lots of factors so it is not possible to give an absolute answer.  Conditions on site can vary so much and only your risk assessment can determine if it is safe to assemble a tower on a slope.

It is safer to assemble a tower on a slope on base plates instead of castors. Even if the tower is on base plates you may still need to tie the tower to a supporting structure or ground anchors to prevent movement. If the slope is steep then you may need to consider digging it out locally to accommodate the base plates on a flat area.

Check if the ground surface is suitable. Loose, soft or otherwise unstable sloping ground surfaces can be particularly dangerous.  Where levelling is required beyond the adjustment available from the adjustable legs, consideration should be given to offsetting or using different end frames.

Can I mix tower components from different manufacturers?

Normally, tower components are not compatible with components from different manufacturers, even if they are the same dimensions. In other words, you can’t just take a platform or brace, or any other component, from one make of tower and use it on a different tower made by another manufacturer.

Sometimes even components from different models of tower made by the same manufacturer are also not compatible.

To determine if a tower from one manufacturer might be compatible with another make of tower, PASMA issued a Compatibility Protocol which was last revised in 2023. The Compatibility Protocol lays out the principles that need to be followed by manufacturers to determine the potential for compatibility.

Amongst other things, the protocol requires that any claims of compatibility are verified by an independent third party approved body. The manufacturer and the independent third party approved body will determine what checks and tests it needs to carry to demonstrate conformance with the PASMA Compatibility Protocol.

Only use components from different towers where that third party verification has been carried out and the manufacturer claiming compatibility can provide you with evidence of that fact.

A further requirement of the PASMA Protocol is that manufacturers claiming compatibility with other makes of tower, must issue user instructions which cover the mixing of the components from the different towers. It is vital that before mixing and matching components, you read those instructions carefully as it will highlight any operational differences between the two towers.

When a PASMA member claims compatibility with other towers and with the Protocol, the relevant instruction manuals will be marked ‘claims compatibility with another manufacturer’ in our instruction manual library.

28/3/24 – PASMA has reaffirmed its commitment to the Compatibility Protocol. Read the statement in full >>

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