The anatomy of a suspended platform system

A suspended platform, also called suspended scaffold or swing stage, allows access to the sides of a structure or facade for all kinds of purposes. During the construction phase these platforms are often used to install windows or other facade materials, painting, brickwork etc. But sometimes they are also used for maintenance works on wind turbines, offshore platforms or cooling towers of power stations.

These platforms move vertically along a structure and users can move horizontally on the platform. A temporary suspended platform can also be moved horizontally, but this requires the set-up on the roof to be moved.

A suspended system consists of three main components. The platform itself, the hoist units and the anchorage system. Below we’ll explain the parts of a swing stage, based on our own system.

Modular systems

Most suspended platforms are build up as modular systems. This way the platform’s dimensions can be adjusted to fit the needs of a project. XSPlatforms temporary suspended platform has three different length modules and a 2-way corner section which can be combined to create a custom configuration.

The platform elements of a suspended scaffold have to be furnished with guardrails and integrated toeboards. This protects users from potential fall hazards and ensures that tools cannot fall of a platform.

Assembly of a platform only takes three simple steps, without using any tools. The advantage of the platforms becomes evident when looking at storage and transportation, as the design is compact, lightweight and easily stackable. The entire platform system fits in the back of a medium sized van, due to the foldable nature of the platform modules. XSPlatforms platforms are also equipped with anti-slip flooring to further increase safety and combat slip and trip hazards.

Self-powered platforms

Suspended platforms are often self-powered and are equipped with traction hoists to get the platform to the required level.

The hoisting units have a Working Load Limit (WLL) or rated load that should never be exceeded. For this reason most regulations require the use of an overload detection system when using a suspended work platform. XSPlatforms’ hoist, the XSClimber, has a built-in overload detector, this mechanism blocks use of the system should the maximum capacity be exceeded.

Additionally, the XSClimber hoist has built in safety systems, such as tilting and slack rope protection and a secondary brake system. The tilting protection ensures a platform cannot slant to one side. A secondary brake system is mandatory and ensures that a platform cannot descend in the unprecedented event that a cable breaks.

Secure anchorage

The last component we want to discuss is the secure anchorage a suspended platform hangs from; this can either be Davit arms, outriggers or roof beams or parapet anchors.

XSPlatforms temporary suspended platforms are secured with a specially designed and engineered outrigger. This system consists of high-grade aluminum beams and counter weights. An advantage of this roof beam is the fact that the system can be adjusted to fit different projects. The height, inner beam length and outreach are all adaptable to the situation.

What are the safety regulations regarding suspended platforms?

Next to regulations regarding work at height there are special requirements for working with a suspended scaffold. We urge you to check your local regulations before starting any work at height. In an earlier blog series we explored these requirements in depth, and made a comparison between OSHA 1926.451 and EN 1808.

Download anatomy of a suspended platform

If you want to learn more about the XSPlatforms suspended platforms we’ve put together a download with the complete anatomy of a suspended scaffold.