A Tallescope, sometimes known as a ‘talley’, is a retractable aluminium alloy ladder with a work platform, usually attached to an adjustable wheeled base. This type of access equipment is ideal for use in theatres, halls or schools, to provide access to lighting rigs for set-up, maintenance or repair.

Tallescopes usually have a working height ranging between 5m and 10m, and provide space for one operator at the top of the ladder. When in the closed position, a Tallescope lies horizontally on its base and is able to fit through a standard doorway. When fixed in the active position, however, the ladder can be extended to an adjustable height according to the user’s requirements. Once it is locked in place, the operator can climb the ladder to the platform and carry out work or repairs.

It is important that this type of equipment is used safely and according to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) guidelines. These include:

– Two people are used to transport and steady the Tallescope.

– The Tallescope must not be moved with an operator on the platform or ladder.

– Castor wheels must be locked before use, and must not ‘lift’ when the brake is applied.

– Outriggers or stabilisers (if applicable) should be engaged before use.

Tallescopes also come in compact varieties, which are narrower than the standard models in order to provide access in particularly difficult-to-reach locations. Most Tallescopes have fully adjustable legs and some have adaptations so they can be attached to a trailer.

Aluminium access platforms and towers like this are ideal for use in leisure centres, malls and shopping centres, as well as outdoor use – wherever there is a need for one-spot access with a telescopic ladder. Tallescopes are a safe and versatile alternative to traditional steps and ladders due to their lightweight frame and ease of transportation. They tend to have higher working heights than most hand-held ladders, and therefore are much more useful for high-reach applications like theatre rigging.

As with any access equipment, adequate training should be undertaken before use. Tallescope training can be found at most powered access suppliers and generally includes erection and dismantling procedures, risk assessment and pre-use checks, and the use of handrails, stabilisers, brakes and toeboards. Examination comprises a written and practical test, and training can usually be completed in half a day.

Tallescopes are available from many powered access rental companies and retailers.