PASMA

training questions

What is PASMA training?

PASMA training is a widely recognised training scheme that teaches people to use scaffold towers safely. When you pass a PASMA training course, you get a PASMA card. Your card shows employers or clients the level of training you’ve completed and reassures them that you’re competent to work with towers. There’s a range of different PASMA training courses available, but you’ll only need to take the courses that are relevant to your role and the types of equipment you use. Read the guide to PASMA training.

Who needs PASMA training?​

You should be PASMA trained if any of these apply to you:

  • You use scaffold towers or low-level access equipment at work; or
  • You manage people who use scaffold towers or low-level access equipment at work; or
  • You use scaffold towers or low-level access equipment at home

There’s a range of different PASMA training courses available, but you’ll only need to take the courses that are relevant to your role and the types of equipment you use.

What can I expect from a PASMA course?

A typical PASMA course will start in a classroom, where you’ll be introduced to your training instructor. All PASMA courses are led by an instructor who’s an expert in towers and low-level access equipment. You’ll also meet the other delegates – there can be up to 12 people on a course. Some could be complete beginners and others more experienced towers users, but your instructor will go at a pace that includes everyone.

First, they will give a presentation. This covers the theory you need to know – for example, depending on the course you’ve chosen, they might introduce you to different tower components and explain your legal responsibilities. This usually lasts a few hours, but there’s no set time. For some courses, you can do this part of the course online.

To keep you engaged, your instructor will ask questions and spark group discussions. You can make notes and ask questions as you go. When your instructor is confident you’re ready, you’ll sit a theory assessment.

If your course lasts a full day, there will be a break for lunch after the assessment.

If your course includes a practical section, this is how you’ll spend the rest of the day. You’ve learned a lot during the theory section and now it’s time to put it into practice. Your instructor will split the group into teams and you’ll work together to build and use towers or low-level access equipment while your instructor assesses you. They’ll talk you through each stage and will be keeping a watchful eye to make sure everyone works safely. 

If you’ve always wondered what you do on a PASMA course, you should now have a clearer idea of what to expect.

Why is PASMA training better than any other tower training?

PASMA is the trusted expert on scaffold towers and low-level access equipment. As such, we work closely with organisations like the Health & Safety Executive, the Office for Product Safety and Standards, the British Standards Institution, and other safety-minded organisations.

We’re also members of the Access Industry Forum, a forum that unites all the leading work at height associations, who come together to support and promote codes of good practice, equipment standards, training, education and knowledge in the work at height sector.

Our members include companies who manufacture, hire, supply and train people to use towers – not just in the UK, but increasingly internationally too. Our members are generous with their expertise and time.

It means that when our training courses are put together, they benefit from our collective industry-wide insights, experience and knowledge. This is what makes PASMA training unique.

You should also know that our instructors are subject matter experts who have been trained by PASMA to deliver our courses. Courses take place at approved training centres that have high-quality facilities for delegates. And class sizes are kept small to ensure every delegate gets the support and attention they need.

All these reasons are why PASMA accredited qualifications are widely recognised and accepted by employers and clients worldwide as evidence that a person has been trained to the highest standard on the use of towers or low-level access equipment.

Is PASMA training a legal requirement for workers in the UK?

No, there’s no specific legal requirement relating to PASMA. However, workers should complete some form of training in towers and low-level working platforms before they use them.

That’s because there is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that no one works at height unless they are competent to do so. This is covered in regulation five of the Work at Height Regulations: 

‘Every employer shall ensure that no person engages in any activity, including organisation, planning and supervision, in relation to work at height or work equipment for use in such work unless he is competent to do so or, if being trained, is being supervised by a competent person.’

It is widely accepted that competence is demonstrated through a combination of training, practical and theoretical knowledge, and experience.

As the Health & Safety Executive says: ‘The type of tower selected must be suitable for the work and erected and dismantled by people who have been trained and are competent to do so. Those using tower scaffolds should also be trained in the potential dangers and precautions required during use.’

So, when a worker will be using scaffold towers or low-level access equipment, their employer is likely to arrange formal training for them. This will not only help keep them safe, but also help the employer comply with the Work at Height Regulations.

It’s not mandatory for it to be PASMA training, although PASMA happens to be the most popular and respected qualification for this type of equipment.

If you’re outside the UK, your local PASMA training centre can advise you of local laws and requirements.

What PASMA courses do I need to do?

There’s a range of different PASMA training courses available, but you’ll only need to take the courses that are relevant to your role and the types of equipment you use. Our guide to PASMA training will help you figure out which courses apply.

Why do I need different training for different towers?

A PASMA course is only one day long; it isn’t enough time to teach you everything you need to know about every configuration of tower – which each have different components, hazards and good practices associated with them. Towers for Users not only trains you to use straight-up-and-down mobile access towers, it also gives you a solid background knowledge on towers. Once you’ve got that, you can build on that knowledge by learning about more advanced tower configurations. These configurations are more complicated and all very different from each other, so it’s important to focus on them individually.

Does every training centre do every course?

They can! There’s an international network of training centres who have the facilities and equipment needed to conduct PASMA training. These training centres can run any PASMA course, except Access Tower Specialist. However, local demand, space restrictions and the availability of skilled instructors in their area might affect what courses they decide to offer. If you’re having trouble finding a course near you, let us know.

Some courses may not be available in every country. Check with your local training centre for details. 

Why is there no PASMA training available in my country?

It might not be available yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get it going. PASMA started in the UK and has since expanded into different regions where there’s been local demand. If you’re in a country without any PASMA training centres, please let us know. If we can demonstrate a demand for training in your area, we can speak to your local training centres.

How long is a PASMA course?

Most PASMA courses last one day. Check the course details section of the relevant training course page to make sure.

Is it possible to fail a PASMA course?

Yes. PASMA courses are formally assessed. All courses include a written assessment and most also include a practical assessment. If you fail an assessment, you will fail the course. Your instructor will do everything they can to prepare you for your assessments. If you do fail, you’ll be able to re-take the course from the beginning again whenever you’re ready. Speak to your training centre to arrange this.

Where can you get PASMA training?

PASMA training takes place either at an approved training centre or at your own facility. The theory part of your course may also take place online. Training is always arranged through one of our approved training members, who deliver the nationally recognised PASMA training syllabus for competency in access towers.

How much does PASMA training cost?

That’s up to individual training centres to decide. PASMA doesn’t get involved in setting prices and in fact, as a trade association, we can’t get involved – it’s against competition law. If you’re interested in taking a PASMA course, contact your local training centre for prices.

How fit do I need to be to complete a PASMA course?

Most of our courses involve an element of practical work, which means assembling, dismantling, moving and climbing towers. This can be physically demanding, so you do need to be reasonably fit. If you have any doubts about your fitness to use towers, share your concerns with your employer in the first instance and speak to your local training centre if you need their guidance. They can conduct an assessment and may be able to put measures in place that allow you to complete the course while taking account of any difficulties you have.

What if I’m not in the best of health?

Most of our courses involve an element of practical work, which means assembling, dismantling, moving and climbing towers. To complete the course, you should be in good health, and should generally not have problems with eyesight or hearing, heart disease, high blood pressure, epilepsy, fear of heights, vertigo, giddiness, difficulty with balance, impaired limb function, alcohol or drug dependence, including prescribed drugs or psychiatric illness.

You should also consider how the effects of extremes of temperature – heat and cold; lack of nutrition – fasting; and lack of water – dehydration, can impair your ability to work safely.

If you have any doubts about your ability to use towers safely, speak to your local training centre about it. They can conduct an assessment and may be able to put measures in place that allow you to complete the course while taking account of any difficulties you have.

Can I do a PASMA course if I’m scared of heights?

To pass most PASMA courses, you will have to climb to the top of a tower. There will always be guardrails in place to prevent you from falling. However, if you’re afraid of heights, we wouldn’t recommend coming on the course (or using towers at all). If you’re not sure, explain the situation to your employer. If you’re already booked on a course, speak to your training centre. They can talk you through what will happen on the course and may be able to reassure you.

Not all courses involve a practical segment – for example, there’s no tower climbing involved in Towers for Managers – so check to be sure.

Can I complete the course if I’m pregnant?

Most of our courses involve an element of practical work, which means assembling, dismantling, moving and climbing towers. While pregnancy would not automatically exclude you from completing the course, you do need to be in good health, physically fit and able to carry out all practical elements of the course. We recommend speaking to your employer for guidance. If you’re planning to attend a course, please let your training centre know if you’re pregnant.

Can I complete the course if I have difficulty reading or writing?

Tower users must be able to read and understand written language, because they need to read safety notices and instruction manuals. Also, PASMA courses involve a written assessment, which requires the delegate to read and write (although in most cases, it’s multiple choice). Ideally, bring your concerns to the attention of your employer in the first instance, and let your training centre know that you have difficulties reading or writing when you book your course. This way, they can both plan how best to support you. However, we know this isn’t always possible. If you’re due to attend a course and are worried about this, tell your training instructor first thing in the morning. They’re used to supporting delegates with all sorts of challenges and can usually adapt the training to accommodate you.

Can you do a PASMA course online?

It’s often possible to do the theory section of a PASMA course online. This could either be a pre-recorded session that you work through at your own pace, or a live course delivered remotely by an instructor at a set time. Speak to your training centre to find out your options.

How do I renew my PASMA card before it expires?

If your PASMA card is due to expire, you can extend it by taking the same training course again. The course will most likely have been updated since you last took it, to keep up with changing standards, regulations and good practice.

Does a PASMA card expire?

Yes, every PASMA card has an expiry date. To renew your card, you can extend it by taking the same training course again.

Is there a mock test I can use to practise?

No, there’s no official mock test. However, there are some ‘just for fun’ quizzes you can use to practise answering questions about towers. 

Is PASMA training available near me?

There’s an international network of training centres that offer our training, so you should be able to find a PASMA course near you. Contact your local training centre for course dates, availability and prices.

What equipment does PASMA cover?

PASMA runs training courses on:

  • All standard configurations of scaffold towers
  • Non-standard scaffold towers
  • Low-level access equipment, such as podium steps

There are dedicated courses for each type of tower and for low-level access equipment, so be sure to choose the courses that are most relevant for you.

What is a PASMA card?

A PASMA card (or ‘ticket’) is a card you receive when you successfully pass a PASMA training course. Your card shows employers or clients the level of training you’ve completed and reassures them that you’re competent to work with towers.

I’ve left my job and my employer kept my PASMA card. What can I do?

If your card was still valid, you should be able to purchase a replacement from the training centre where you did your training. If you don’t know which training centre it was, we can check for you. Complete a lost card form and we’ll investigate.

If you know your certificate number, you can view your card online.

Can I book PASMA training to take place on my own site?

Yes. Speak to your local training centre who will be able to advise if this is a service they can offer and if so, what equipment and facilities you will need to have on site.

Is PASMA training relevant all over the world?

Yes. PASMA training courses teach good practice that is applicable wherever you are in the world. Where the courses refer to legislation or regulations, this content will have been tailored for the country you’re in.

How can I show off my PASMA qualifications?

Once you’ve gained your PASMA card, you’ll want to let everyone know. Here are some ideas:

  • Announce it on social media – your customers want to know you take height safety seriously
  • Frame your certificate and hang it on the wall at work
  • Put a ‘PASMA trained’ sticker on your hard hat or vehicle – they’re free!

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