Maximising Efficiency: Choosing Between Mobile and Stationary Access Equipment

Selecting the right access equipment is pivotal for successful and efficient operations in various industries. Whether it's stationary or mobile equipment, each type offers unique benefits based on the specific demands of the job.

This article explores the distinctions between stationary and mobile access equipment, delving into their examples, applications, advantages, and considerations for picking the right elevated working platform (EWP) for the job. Specifically, we look at some of the advantages of Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs) over scaffolding systems.

Stationary Access Equipment

Examples: fixed scaffolding, platform ladders, fixed scissor lifts

Stationary access equipment plays a vital role in applications where a fixed position is essential for the job at hand. These are often employed in construction projects, building maintenance, or any task that requires a stable and secure elevated platform.

Benefits of Stationary Access Equipment:

  • Stability: Stationary equipment provides a stable and secure platform, minimising vibrations and sway.
  • Height: Stationary equipment suits tasks that require extended periods at a specific height without the need for frequent adjustments.
  • Durability: This equipment is typically designed for heavy-duty applications, ensuring long-term durability.

Mobile Access Equipment

Examples: forklifts, scissor lifts, boom lifts, cherry pickers, manlifts/vertical lifts

Mobile access equipment (also referred to as Mobile Elevating Work Platforms or MEWPs) offers flexibility and manoeuvrability, making it suitable for dynamic job sites.

Applications and Benefits of Mobile Access Equipment:


  • Applications: Material handling, warehouse operations, and logistics.
  • Benefits: Versatile, capable of lifting heavy loads, and ideal for indoor and outdoor use.

Scissor Lifts:

  • Applications: Construction, maintenance, and installation tasks.
  • Benefits: Offers vertical lifting, stability, and a spacious platform for multiple workers and tools.

Boom Lifts:

  • Applications: Exterior building maintenance, tree trimming, and construction.
  • Benefits: Articulating or telescoping booms provide extended reach, versatility, and precise positioning.

Cherry Pickers:

  • Applications: Orchards, construction, and maintenance tasks.
  • Benefits: Narrow access capability, excellent manoeuvrability, and flexibility in height adjustments.

Manlifts/Vertical Lifts:

  • Applications: Warehouses, manufacturing, and maintenance tasks.
  • Benefits: Provides vertical access to elevated areas, compact design, and ease of manoeuvrability.

Picking the Right Elevated Working Platform (EWP) for the Job

When selecting access equipment, it's crucial to consider the unique reach, working height, and weight capacity of each equipment type. Different jobs require different equipment, and factors to consider include:

1. Worksite Limits:

  • Evaluate the limits of the worksite, considering the available space and potential obstacles.

2. Ground Conditions:

  • Assess the ground conditions to ensure the chosen equipment is suitable for the terrain. For example ground conditions close to the worksite might not allow for scaffolding or for a MEWP to get close, and a boom lift might be required, as you can then swing in.

3. Site Access:

  • Consider site access points and limitations to determine the equipment that can navigate the available pathways.

4. Proximity to the Public or Other Workers:

  • Evaluate how near the public or other workers will be during the operation, choosing equipment that enhances safety and minimises disruptions and follows the relevant regulations

By carefully considering these factors, you can pick the most appropriate MEWP for the job, ensuring optimal efficiency, safety, and adherence to the specific requirements of the task at hand.

Comparison: Mobile vs. Stationary Access Equipment

1. Flexibility:

  • Mobile: Offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing access to various locations within a job site.
  • Stationary: Limited to a fixed position, suitable for tasks that do not require frequent relocation.

2. Manoeuvrability:

  • Mobile: Highly manoeuvrable, capable of navigating tight spaces and uneven terrain.
  • Stationary: Limited in manoeuvrability, best suited for tasks in a fixed location.

3. Height and Reach:

  • Mobile: Variable height options, with some equipment providing extended reach.
  • Stationary: Typically designed for specific heights, offering stability but with less reach and versatility.

4. Job-site Dynamics:

  • Mobile: Ideal for dynamic job sites where tasks require movement and adaptability.
  • Stationary: Suited for tasks in a stable environment, where a fixed position is crucial.

General Advantages of MEWPs Over Scaffolding Systems

Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs) present several advantages over scaffolding systems, contributing to improved jobsite safety, access, and productivity.

1. Time & Workload Management:

  • MEWPs allow for quicker project completion as the time spent erecting scaffolding is eliminated.
  • Self-propelled MEWPs can be driven to the worksite, saving time compared to manually transporting scaffolding.
  • MEWPs provide large platforms designed to transport workers, tools, and supplies efficiently.

2. Workload Management:

  • MEWPs reduce worker fatigue by eliminating the need for climbing ladders, common in scaffolding.
  • Operators can position the platform precisely, minimising strain and fatigue associated with crouching and reaching.
  • MEWPs can be driven at maximum platform height, allowing continuous work.


In the dynamic landscape of buying or hiring access equipment, the choice between mobile and stationary options boils down to the specific requirements of the job. While stationary equipment offers stability and durability, mobile equipment provides flexibility and adaptability. Picking the right elevated working platform (EWP) involves careful consideration of worksite limits, ground conditions, site access, and proximity to others.

Additionally, the advantages of Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWPs) over scaffolding systems, including improved time management, workload distribution, jobsite access, and safety at height, further emphasise the efficiency gains achievable with mobile solutions. By understanding the nuances of each type and aligning them with the demands of the task, businesses can optimise their operations, enhance safety protocols, and maximise productivity.

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