Work Platforms – Purpose Built or Modular?

work platform
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Suppose you’ve performed a thorough risk assessment of your workplace and you’ve identified that the ideal way to ensure maximum safety in a particular area is by using a work platform. You may now be thinking that there’s nothing left to consider, however, you now need to decide which kind of platform is best suited to your business’ needs; purpose built (prefab), modular, or a combination of both? This guide details the benefits and drawbacks of each alternative.

Purpose Built Platform

If you seek a work platform solution that allows you to define each aspect of the design to suit your precise requirements, then a purpose-built platform may be the ideal option. This will enable you to decide the configuration of your platform to the finest detail, giving you the ability to choose where each railing and step is going to be positioned and allow you to select the appropriate dimensions of each platform.

While purpose-built platforms are an excellent choice, it’s important to note that they are the most expensive solution and an alternative such as modular or hybrid may serve your business just as well. When it comes to made to order platforms, you must also be absolutely certain that the size and design requirements that you’ve given to the manufacturer are dead on. Any miscalculations will lead to further expenses while delaying manufacturing time as well.

Benefits

Total design control that ensures a work platform that is built to exact specifications.

Drawbacks

  • Priciest option
  • Custom designed platforms take the longest to manufacture
  • Cannot be reconfigured once the platform has been completed

Modular Platform

Modular platforms are the quickest to construct and are the least expensive of all the work platform styles. With a modular platform, you simply choose the one you need, purchase it, install it and away you go. As easy as this all sounds, however, locating a platform that satisfies your exact measurements, may prove to be anything but.

For this reason, modular platforms are best suited to less complicated circumstances, such as a platform that enables personnel to ascend a number of steps and perform maintenance on a piece of equipment. If you require a basic solution that provides access to an elevated position in the workplace, then modular platforms may be the ideal choice.

Benefits

  • No manufacturing time
  • Most cost effective platform style

Drawbacks

  • No personalisation; you’re forced to find a design that suits your exact requirements, rather than having the freedom to design one
  • Cannot be reconfigured onsite

Combination Platform

Combination or hybrid platforms, offer you the benefits of both modular and purpose-built platforms. They feature interchangeable parts that can be modified but are designed to requirements. Combination platforms ensure optimal design and manufacturing times. Individual platform segments are combined to create a larger platform. An additional benefit of the combination platforms, is the capacity to make alterations on the fly while installing or after installation is complete. This is particular handy if the ground is slightly irregular.

Benefits

  • Can be sourced and installed immediately
  • Not as costly as purpose-built platform systems
  • Allows a degree of personalisation
  • Make adjustments on the fly

Drawbacks

  • Assembly isn’t as quick and easy as modular systems
  • More expensive than modular
  • Does not allow the same level of design control as purpose-built systems

One mistake businesses must be careful to avoid is making the assumption that ‘what’s close enough is good enough’. In workplace environments that require access to elevated areas, any oversight can have dangerous consequences. Once you’ve identified your requirements, it’s essential that a platform system that represents the best possible solution is chosen.

As we’ve seen, each platform style, be it purpose-built, modular or combination, have their and unique set of benefits and drawbacks that make them better suited to some situations rather than others. If the wrong platform system is installed, then workers are placed at an increased risk of injury.

Ensure you select the correct work platform for your needs, by getting in touch with a specialised manufacturer of industrial safety equipment.

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