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Working Safely on Painter’s Trestles

Painter’s trestles offer an easy and inexpensive way of creating a raised platform that is suitable for light duty activities such as painting. Not only are they easy to set up, but they can also be relocated on site too with relative ease, making them a great choice of working platform for painters and builders alike.

However, there are some important things you need to bear in mind when using a set of trestles and associated items. Here are some of our top tips for working safely on painter’s trestles:

1.Choose the Right Size Trestle

In order to remain safe on a painter’s trestle, you will need to make sure you choose a trestle of suitable size to reach the working height required. Painter’s trestles are available in a range of different sizes depending on your needs. For example, you can get Painter’s trestles 1.8m – 3.0m and Painter’s trestles 3.6m – 4.8m. Choosing the right one will help you to stay safe while working at height.

2.Make Sure Your Trestle is Set Up Properly

You need to ensure that your painter’s trestle is fully open before using it. All four legs of the trestle need to be positioned firmly on the ground. If the ground is unstable, then consider using a Leg Leveller. Leg levellers will not give you any extra height, they simply compensate/account for uneven ground.

When setting up your work platform, you will need to ensure that the platform is at least 450mm wide, or the width of two standard planks. Regulations state that the maximum size a working platform can be is 5.5 metres. However, if your platform is this long it will need to be clamped together using a Plank Clamp. Plank clamps are used to pull 2, 3 or 4 planks together side by side to make a rigid platform and greatly reducing bounce in the planks.

When setting up your working platform, it’s also important to remember that you are allowed no less than 250mm overhang at each end when the plank is placed onto the trestle. You will also need to bear in mind the workload limit of the trestle which is 225kg for light duty scaffold.

3.Consider Upgrading Your Trestle

Because you will be working at height as soon as you step onto a painter’s trestle, there are some things you can add to them to reduce the risk of falling and therefore increasing your safety.  These include:

  • Adding a Safety Rail System – this is a handrail set up that attaches to your trestle. Not only will adding a handrail help to reduce the number of falls from height, but this handrail also makes the trestle WH&S compliant as a light duty scaffold.  If you have several trestles set up in a row, then you will also need to add a Safety Rail System Extension for each additional trestle.
  • If you choose not to use full trestle safety rail system, consider hiring a Spreader Bar – These bars lock trestle legs in the open position. Although the legs on most trestles do not need support to keep them open, spreader bars can be added for extra security and to give you peace of mind.
  • Add a Counter Weight – in order to prevent crabbing and to increase the stability of the trestle, counter weight components can be added.

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do to increase safety while working on trestles. Not only do you need to inspect the trestle before using it, but you should also ensure that it is set up correctly too. You also need to make sure that you don’t use trestles in poor conditions, such as rain.

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