Working on a roof can be a risky business, posing a variety of hazards. Naturally, none of these hazards are more ominously dangerous than a fall from height.

Around 48,000 Brits take a trip to A&E every year as a result of a ladder accident in and around the home. Worse still, the number of ladder-related fatalities also makes for seriously grim reading.

As such, knowledge of ladder use is a vital part of worker safety, whether you’re a professional window cleaner or an amateur DIY guy cleaning the roof gutters.

If you plan on using a roof ladder for your next job, it’s well worth boning up on your roof ladder knowledge beforehand.

As luck would have it, you’ve come to the right place as this very blog is dedicated to all things roof ladders, specifically designed to help you get a step ahead.

how to use a roof ladder

 

What Are Roof Ladders?

Also known as cat ladders, roof access ladders provide additional safety for those looking to conduct rooftop activities, such as dedicated roofers and TV aerial/satellite installers.

The key feature that differentiates a roof ladder from a standard ladder is the presence of a hooked end at the very top.

This hook can be attached to the brow of the roof, securing it in place and providing additional stability during the rooftop activity.

 

Legalities Behind Roof Ladder Safety

From a legal perspective, using a roof ladder falls under a number of safety restrictions, including the following legal elements:

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
  • The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

However, perhaps the most important and relevant of the regulations relating to ladder use is The Work at Height Regulations 2005.

This mandates that employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.

When it comes to rooftop competence, knowledge is undoubtedly power. To help you stay abreast of how to use a roof ladder, be sure to read over the following points:

 

Before Using Your Roof Ladder

Before you begin your rooftop job, it’s important to that you know your roof ladder is long enough for the task at hand.

As a rule of thumb, your ladder should be long enough to reach from the eaves to the peak of the roof ridge.

Once you have verified that your ladder is fit for purpose, you should ensure that your extension ladder is firmly placed on level/stable ground for you to begin your ascent.

 

How to Use a Roof Ladder Safely

Right, now down to business…

Once your roof ladder has been positioned onto the roof, it’s time to securing it in place for safe and secure use.

Start with by placing the wheels of the ladder on the roof with the hook facing up. This will allow you to easily slide the roof ladder into place.

If you need to extend the ladder in order to reach the peak of the roof, unlock the safety clips and lengthen the ladder so that it is long enough for the hook to reach the rooftop.

Once the required ladder length has been reached, lock the safety clips in place and wheel the ladder up the rooftop, flipping it over once you reach the peak.

After the rubber hook has surpassed the ridge tile, slot the ladder into place, giving it a light pull to ensure it is indeed secure.

From there, your roof ladder should be ready to use. To unfasten the roof ladder, simply follow the above steps in reverse.

If you are to be working on the roof for any length of time, it’s wise to consider additional safety equipment, such as a harness or an appropriate fall arrest system.

 

So, there you have it – a rung-by-rung account of how to use a roof ladder. If you're looking to purchase a roof ladder, we've got some great deals here at Ladders UK Direct!

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outdoor Christmas lights

How to Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights UK

There’s no denying it: the most wonderful time of the year is upon us and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas once again!

Whether it’s the first sight of the Coca-Cola truck, the first play of “Fairytale of New York” or the first taste of a Greggs festive bake, the joy and excitement of the Christmas period is simply inescapable.

For many households, that yuletide enthusiasm translates into decorative motivation, as thoughts quickly turn to festifying the homestead for the impending… well, festivities!

If your decorative plans include illuminating your external property this holiday season, ensure you do it right with this handy guide on how to hang outdoor Christmas lights safely.

 

How Do You Put Christmas Lights Outside?

When it comes to using Christmas lights outside, the first thing to consider before anything else is how you plan on powering your outdoor lights.

If you have an outdoor power supply or a weatherproof extension cable, you may want to consider mains-powered outdoor Christmas lights.

Conversely, if you want to avoid trailing cables and/or don’t have an outdoor power supply, you may wish to explore the battery-powered route for cableless ease.

 

How Do You Hang Outdoor Christmas Lights?

Once you have identified how you plan to power your lights, the next job is to decide how you plan to hang them. Many Brits opt for the hanging “icicle” effect, while highlighting features – such as doors and windows – is also a popular option.

Whether you’re hanging outdoor Christmas lights around a window frame or leaving them to dangle majestically from the guttering, purchasing gutter hooks and/or decorating clips is a wise move.

These miniature fasteners will allow you to easily and efficiently hang your lights at regular intervals without damaging your property. Better still, they also allow for easy adjustment, should you need to tweak the spacing.

Once the hooks are fastened in place, thread the lights through the clips to create the desired effect. Work backwards from the socket if using mains-power to avoid prematurely running out of lights/space. Avoid leaving any hanging wires to create a neater (and safer) finish.

 

Can I Hang Christmas Lights Without a Ladder?

Like any DIY task, it’s important to have the correct tools for the task at hand. With this being a ladder website, it’ll probably come as no surprise that we recommend putting a ladder at the very top of the shopping list.

While there a number of tips and guides online on how to hang Christmas lights without a ladder, doing so is much like hammering in a screw – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Hanging outdoor Christmas lights without a ladder can be extremely dangerous and is an accident waiting to happen. Eliminate an avoidable festive disaster by simply getting the right tools for job, biting the bullet and getting a good ladder.

After all, the only fall anyone wants to see at Christmastime is Hans Gruber tumbling from Nakatomi Plaza. Use a ladder when hanging your Xmas lights to turn your decorative dismay into yippee-ki-aye.

 

Top Tips for Hanging Christmas Lights Safely

As seen in the previous section, the golden rule of hanging Christmas lights is to always use a ladder to do so. However, there are a few other tips to keep in mind when you’re hanging your outdoor lights.

It’s important to ensure your ladder is firmly on solid ground before scaling it. Make sure the surface is level and there is no danger of the ladder rocking or toppling – it’s too late once you’re on the top, so be sure to check before you ascend.

If using a step ladder, it’s also wise to check that you can reach the highest point you need without standing on the very top step. Scaling the top step can make for uneasy stability and increase your chances of a nasty fall.

Finally, if possible, enlist the aid of a friend, family member or neighbour and get them to hold the latter at the base while you climb. This can help to ensure the ladder maintains a steady position while your above ground.

 

Ladders for Hanging Christmas Lights

At Ladders UK Direct, we have a wide variety of ladders to choose from, ranging from step ladders and hop ups to DIY extension ladders and work platforms. Each ladder is designed to suit a specific task and environment, with some better for the job than others.

For example, if you’re hanging your Christmas lights from the roof of your house, you may want to consider using a roof ladder. Meanwhile, for porch decorations and ground floor windows, a stepladder should work perfectly.

With a variety of affordable ladders in our sale section, there’s really no excuse for not taking the appropriate precautions. Turn your property into a winter wonderland by lighting up your home safely this Christmas with Ladders UK Direct.

 

For more information on how to hang Christmas lights safely, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 789538 of get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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ladder regulations

Ladder Regulations: EN131 Explained

Back in January of 2018, the UK was introduced to the new and improved EN131 ladder regulations, replacing the existing EN131 regulation of old.

As news spread across the UK, the ladder industry rejoiced, tears of joy were shed and parties spilt out onto the streets nationwide as a result.

Okay, that last bit may have been slightly exaggerated but still, it was a welcome change.

In reality, however, the news likely went unnoticed by many ladder users across the country. For those that missed it, here’s the 411 on the EN131.

What is the EN131 ladders regulation?

Prior to the EN131 update, there was originally three different ladder regulations in place in the UK, covering domestic, trade and industrial use.

The European Commission was unhappy with the previous standard, highlighting the absence of appropriate stability, slip, durability and strength precautions – key areas that make up the main causes of ladder related accidents.

As a result, the new EN131 came to be, providing the next step in ladder safety.

Since the revision, the EN131 now provides a simple two-class system, separating ladder use into easily defined professional and non-professional use.

The new EN131 regulation ensures that all tested ladders and portable steps made of metal, fibreglass and other applicable materials meet the minimum safety standards required.

What does the new EN131 include?

EN131 has a number of essential criteria that have been implemented in the interest of user safety, notably the requirement for a weight capacity of at least 150kg.

The new EN131 also requires ladders over 3m to feature stabilisers, while additional slip and cycle durability tests are required, as well as additional tests for ladders in the position of use.

As a result of the new regulation, products will be need to be independently tested and certified for compliance, labelled accordingly with the EN131 Standard once passed.

What does the EN131 test include?

In addition to the new requirements mentioned above, the EN131 also implements new and updated testing criteria.

For standard leaning ladders, the EN131 includes the following tests:

  • Base Slip Test
  • Lateral Deflection
  • Bend Test
  • Strength Test
  • Torsion Test

Meanwhile, standing ladders are checked using the following tests:

  • Durability Test
  • Opening Restraints and Hinge Test
  • Torsion Test

Provided they can pass these tests, the ladders will be deemed worthy of EN131 certification.

Is the EN131 regulation a legal requirement?

While the new standard is undoubtedly useful in terms of ensuring user safety, it’s worth noting that the EN131 regulation is a guideline and not compulsory by law.

Nevertheless, professional safety bodies such as Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive will expect manufacturers to comply with this new ruling.

Meanwhile, professionals won’t be urged to replace their existing ladders; however, they will be expected to upgrade to EN131 certified products when a replacement is eventually needed.

EN131 at Ladders UK Direct

If you’re on the hunt for safe and reliable ladders that conform to EN131 standards, you’ve come to the right place.

At Ladders UK Direct, we have a huge selection of ladders on hand that conform to the new EN131 standard, from low-level work platforms to glass fibre step ladders and everything in between.

For top-quality ladders that are as safe as they are sound, Ladders UK Direct are undoubtedly Lord of the Rungs.

 

For more information on the EN131 regulations or to find out more about UK ladder safety legislation, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 789 538 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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