Access Equipment: A Brief Guide

Access equipment is any piece of equipment which has a primary function of allowing someone to safely work at height.

This can be:

So, it is a term which spans a huge range of products.

It is critical to hire the correct access equipment and working at height apparatus for the job, in order to achieve maximum safety and lower risks on your site.

It is also vital that any equipment operators and users know how to carry their role out safely and following health and safety guidelines. Speedy has training courses available for both access training and powered access training.

When you enrol on an IPAF, PASMA, or other Training Course, you can be sure that you and your staff will be trained to a high level of competence, according to industry standards.


Work at Height Regulations 2005

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 are designed to prevent death or injury because of a fall from height. It is the law to follow them, if relevant.

Employers, facility managers, or building owners who may contract working at height, must follow the Regulations.

Work must be properly planned, supervised, and carried out by competent, trained individuals. Assess risks, hire the correct equipment, and ensure the correct safety fall protection equipment is being worn where applicable.



What to consider before hiring access equipment

The vital thing to remember is that working at height equipment must work for the job you’re undertaking. So, there’s plenty to think about:

  • What is the maximum height users/operators will require?
  • What lift capacity will be required?
  • Where will the equipment be used?
  • Is the ground for the access equipment level? Is it firm?
  • Do you need a power source, and is this available?
  • What is the weather like? Visibility and conditions may affect the usability and safety of equipment

Hiring access equipment means you can use the best equipment for each job, which carries less risk than investing in equipment which may not be right.


The types of access equipment

Mobile boom lifts

Ideal for both outdoor, yard, and warehouse work, mobile self-propelled boom lifts are great for reaching confined areas.

Boom lifts give the operator full control over the exact height and positioning.

Specialist boom lifts, such as spider boom lifts (aka tracked boom lifts) are fitted with tracks to reduce ground pressure and with outriggers to add stability. These are best for uneven, rough terrains.


View our range of booms


Scissor lifts

Self-propelled scissor lifts are a more compact option than boom lifts. They can fit through a standard doorway when lowered.

The platforms can be large enough and hold enough capacity for multiple operators at a time. They only lift and lower vertically, so are slightly more restrictive than a boom lift when it comes to reach.

Outdoor terrain options are available; standard scissor lifts usually work well on safe and stable ground.


View our range of scissor lifts


Vertical masts

Vertical lifts also provide users with the ability to lift and lower vertically. They are great for anyone working overhead, as they can be driven at height, so reduce the time taken to work along the width of a beam or similar.

They generally can reach between 2m and 9m, so is the safest option if working at lower heights. The base is often compact, with a tight turning circle, for excellent manoeuvrability.


View our vertical masts


Aerial work platforms

Often a one-man working at height solution. They’re compact, and ideal for working on high-rise buildings, with a reach of between 6m and over 15m.

Truck-mounted work platforms are also available, which are great for anyone who is on the move as part of their job.


View our aerial work platforms



If you need something more stable and robust for a prolonged time, scaffolding towers are great. They’re available in a huge range of heights, widths, and handrail varieties.

Pop-up Mi Towers are also available for single workers and are easy to build with plenty of safety features.


View our range of scaffold towers


Low-level access

Desk surfers, podium steps, and push-around platforms can all give you safe and stable access to lower-level heights. They can be safer than using ladders, especially if working alone.

You can also use trestles, which support scaffolding boards.


View our range of low-level access solutions



Ladders and steps are a good temporary solution to height access, especially for quick repairs or if you are a DIYer.

It is really important to choose the correct type of ladder for the job, so you don’t have to stretch to reach the necessary point.

You also need to think about the weight limit it will hold, and the space it needs to fit into. Remember that you need to extend step ladders to their full width for them to be stable, so don’t risk hiring any which are too wide for the space.

There are various types of ladders and steps:

  • Builders Steps
  • GRP Builders Steps
  • Combination Ladders
  • GRP Ladders
  • Pole Ladders
  • Roof Ladders
  • Safety Steps
  • Tele-guard Ladder


View our range of ladders and steps


Never use a ladder if you are working alone.


How do you make sure working at height equipment is in good condition?

All work equipment needs to be in good condition to ensure its safe, practical use.

If you hire working-at-height products from Speedy, they are checked after every off-hire, to ensure they’re safe to use and in good condition and haven’t been damaged in any way. All parts required will also be present.

The user is also responsible for assembling and using equipment according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and equipment should be further inspected by a competent person when it arrives on site.

Any equipment which may deteriorate during use, i.e., if it is exposed to bad weather conditions over winter, must be inspected periodically.




Yes. Speedy Hire, the UK's leading tool hire company, have a range of working-at-height equipment for hire nationwide, as well as the safety equipment required for safe operation.

Speedy has more than 200 local service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery across many of our ladders and steps.

Working at Height Training can also be undertaken on-site or at one of our 34 facilities across the UK.

You’ll find all the tools you need right here. Why not open a Speedy account today online or visit us in your local depot to start hiring today?

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