A work platform is a temporary structure, usually made of metal or wood that provides access to elevated spaces. Whether you’re using steel beams as a platform for conducting maintenance or as a working platform to reach high windows and roofs, building one requires appropriate equipment and safety precautions.
Before choosing the construction materials for your scaffold, consider your workspace’s height and weight capacity. Any beam length over 10 feet will require additional reinforcement from diagonal bracing.
Also, be sure each beam can carry at least four times its weight before installation. Work with reliable manufacturers like Steele Solutions to ensure safety in your factory or other workplaces.
Types of Work Platforms
Here are three types of work platform building techniques that are most commonly used in the construction industry today.
The most common type of work platform is a raised deck supported by scaffolding brackets. You can also add a railing to keep tools and materials from falling off the sides.
Open Metal Deck
A temporary walkway made up of interlocking steel meshes. It’s easy to install and remove, but since it has no sides, you’ll need safety nets and railings for fall protection. Flat-deck units can be used without additional bracing for shorter lengths.
This support system consists of two side beams connected by cross braces at regular intervals. Installed components include toes and blocks that attach to the ends of each beam for stability when moving loads such as lumber or pipes into place.
For working on individual beams, install railings and scaffolding brackets on both sides of the piers. Reaching elevated surfaces is difficult with this setup.
This openwork platform consists of planks supported by an A-shaped frame at one end and a platform block or toe at the other. Since its lightweight construction doesn’t provide as much strength as bracing units, scaffolds built around posts should only be used for light factory or warehouse loads such as piping and conduit.
Designed to rest high above ground level, this type of unit can stand alone or connect to a roof’s edge beam using a pole adapter bracket. It’s appropriate for reaching more than 10 feet of height. However, it’s essential to buy these units from high-quality manufacturers like Steele Solutions to ensure the safety of workers.
This type of work platform is perfect for construction or industrial applications because it’s easily adjustable.
The frame consists of two vertical posts with a cross beam at the top, and you can add horizontal beams to increase its length. A bracket placed on top holds diagonal braces to keep the unit from shifting under heavy loads.
Different Uses Cases of a Work Platform in an Industrial Setting
There are many uses cases for work platforms in an industrial setting. Some common ones are listed below:
Oil and Gas
The use of a work platform in this environment usually supports maintenance workers as they carry out tasks on various machines.
In the power generation industry, a work platform can allow a team to access areas that are often hard to reach.
Here they might replace light bulbs in safety lamps with clear lenses, repair circuit breaker components or perform other types of maintenance work on electrical equipment.
Chemical Processing Industry
A scaffold provides an elevated work area for employees who work with repair or cleaning operations where larger machinery is found in chemical processing facilities.
Bulk Material Handling
As the name suggests, a work platform allows for more efficient and safe transport of materials such as coal, grain, and other bulky goods. The deck structure provides easy access to different levels in warehouses or transit sheds.
Any factory setting will benefit from the use of a work platform. They can be installed near machines such as welding equipment so operators can reach them safely and quickly.
In addition, they provide stability when workers need to carry heavy loads such as crates and parts across elevated platforms.
Apart from these everyday uses cases, you’ll find work platforms in construction. Elevated lighting needs to be installed in these electrical maintenance settings or even at sporting venues where temporary scaffolds are built around a court or playing field.
Working platforms are also helpful when inspecting highly automated processes such as semiconductor manufacturing, which involve exact measurements. Here, suppliers will have technicians use the increased height to gain increased accuracy in their readings.
Work platforms are available both as free-standing units or parts that workers can add to existing scaffolds for increased safety. Additions like stairways, safety cages, and handrails also increase safety by allowing workers to safely use equipment while performing their tasks straight from the platform.