Step Ladder vs Step Stools

A step stool and step ladder are great pieces of equipment to have around your home or work that help make several jobs safer and more efficient. But what's the difference between a step ladder and a step stool and which is right for you?

In this blog we take a look at what sets a step ladder and step stool apart, listing the key differences and which you need to choose for the job at hand. 

More...

ladder left on runway

A recent news report from the BBC shows how a step ladder was accidentally left on a Birmingham Airport runway for half an hour! As far as airport safety goes, having any kind of item obstructing the runway is an accident waiting to happen. 

During the thirty minutes that the ladder was stranded on the tarmac, three different passenger planes landed on the runway - narrowly missing the unexpected obstruction. 

How did the ladder end up there? Well, the report suggests that two airport technicians had been working on the lights along the runway. They packed up their kit and headed back to the main building, but somehow the ladder broke free from the back of their van and was left stranded.

An investigation into why this happened, suggested that the bungee cord used to fasten the ladder to the van was not suitable. More suitable securing equipment was available for the technicians, but they suggested it was not easy to access. Instead, they opted for the bungee cord which was deemed 'unsuitable because it was stretched almost to its limit'.

Thankfully, no planes came into contact with the rogue step ladder, and the ladder was removed safely before a serious incident could occur. 

This incident did, however, lead to some positive changes that will improve the way equipment is transported around airport grounds. Employees will be trained and assessed on a regular basis, and will also be expected to follow a number of specific control measures to keep colleagues and passengers safe. 

Transporting ladders safely

Ladders can be quite difficult to transport, especially if you're moving from one place to another in a standard-sized car. How many times have you driven past someone with a ladder hanging out of their boot? Too many, in our opinion.

The technicians at Birmingham airport had access to a van, which is generally more suitable for ladder transportation, but as we've seen, accidents can still occur.

To transport a ladder safely, you really need to make sure your ladder is fixed to your vehicle securely. That means:

  • Use the right fastenings
  • Check them at least once before setting off
  • Allow for the overhang of the ladder

Improper ladder transportation can lead to all kinds of accidents. Just think how dangerous it would be for a step ladder to fall off a van on a motorway, or on a winding country road! Take a bit of extra time to secure your ladder before you attempt to travel anywhere.

Read More: How to transport a ladder 

It's easy to see how a simple maintenance job can turn into a serious incident in a matter of seconds. That's why it's always important to remain vigilant and work safely when using a ladder. 

Ladder Safety >

what precautions should tradespeople take when working in homes

There certainly is a light at the end of the tunnel now that we're taking steps towards the end of lockdown. That being said, it's important that tradespeople entering our homes are still following guidelines and working safely to reduce the spread of coronavirus. 

Things have a tendency to stop working at the most inconvenient times, and without tradespeople, there would've been a lot of homeowners without electricity, hot water, and other amenities during the pandemic. 

It's really important that tradespeople can continue to enter our homes to do repairs and maintenance, but until the spread of coronavirus drops dramatically, we all need to remain cautious. Today, we're going to highlight some of the precautions that tradespeople should take when they're working in someone's home.

Should tradespeople wear a face covering while working?

Over the past year, we've all become accustomed to wearing face coverings in shops and enclosed public spaces. This is because face masks reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. 

Tradespeople entering your home should be wearing a face mask. If they're not wearing a face mask, you are well within your rights to request that they put one on. Ideally, tradespeople should come prepared with the following coronavirus PPE:

  • A suitable face covering
  • Gloves (or hand sanitiser)
  • Shoe covers

All of these things will not only protect the homeowner, should the tradesperson unknowingly have coronavirus, but will also keep the tradesperson safe as they move from one job to the next. 

Should I offer a tradesperson a cup of tea/coffee?

Before the coronavirus pandemic, it was courtesy to offer a tradesperson a cup of tea/coffee, especially if they were going to be working in our homes for a long time.  However, it's important that you take precautions when tradespeople are in your home, so to reduce physical contact you might decide not to offer a tea or coffee.

This is absolutely fine and generally expected. Tradespeople understand that precautions are in place, and will more than likely have a flask or tea of coffee in their van for lunchtime. 

Should I clean the work area before & after a tradesperson visits my house?

During the pandemic, tradespeople are expected to do a certain level of cleaning while they're on the job. Surfaces that are touched in your home should be cleaned down by the tradespeople as they complete the job. 

That being said, it's completely understandable if you're more comfortable cleaning the work area before and after their visit yourself. Not only will it make the tradesperson feel more comfortable, but it will also give you peace of mind that the risk has been minimised. 

Should I vacate the work area while the tradespeople are in my home?

Removing yourself completely from the work area is a good way to reduce the risk of transmission. It will also make the tradespeople feel comfortable and give them the space they need to get the job done quickly. 

Some of us are, however, working from home at the moment, so it might not be easy to avoid the work area completely. In circumstances where you need to access the same space as the tradespeople, it's recommended that you keep two metres away and limit contact as much as possible. If it's not too much hassle, the tradespeople may be able to step outside for a moment while you make your lunch or brush your teeth! 

Final thoughts...

Most tradespeople (self-employed or not) will be used to working with strict coronavirus precautions in place, so you shouldn't need to worry about having work done in your home during this time. 

It's vital that you keep a good line of communication open so that everyone is comfortable with the working situation. Don't be afraid to speak up if something doesn't sit right with you. We're all entitled to be extra-precautious to keep our colleagues and families safe.

By working together and communicating openly, tradespeople can continue to visit our homes and work effectively while minimising risk.

Are you a tradesperson looking for high-quality ladders & scaffolding to help you work during the coronavirus pandemic? Sign up for a trade account for huge discounts! 

Shop Now >

According to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43% of fatal falls involve a ladder. That's a very high number, especially considering that individuals who use ladders in the workplace are supposed to receive basic ladder safety training first.

Health and safety experts would point out that the majority of these accidents involve complacency - but if that many falls are occurring when people have received basic training, how many are happening at home, in a domestic environment, with no training at all?

Thankfully, the risks involved with using a ladder can be dramatically reduced with a few key safety precautions. In this blog post, we're going take a look at how to tie off a ladder in order to reduce the chances of a fall occurring.

More...

If you regularly use ladders and/or step ladders as part of your daily job, it's important that you are up to speed on how to use them safely. If not, you run the risk of causing a serious accident not just for yourself but potentially for anyone who is working with you or around you whilst you are working. 

To ensure you are fully aware of the risks involved whilst using a ladder and you know how to minimise these risks for your and others safety, various ladder safety courses exists that teaches you the safe use of ladders. 

Want to know more and whether a ladder safety course is something you should take? Find out right here with Ladders UK Direct.  

More...

how often should I have my roof inspected

While we're all grateful for the roofs over our heads, we don't always look after them in the way we should. One of the first steps you need to take to keep your roof functioning properly is to perform a roof inspection to identify potential problems. You might not be very confident about climbing on the roof, but with the right equipment and know-how, you can keep your roof in tip-top condition for years to come

Why do I need to inspect my roof?

Here in the UK, our winters can be very damaging to roofs and other exposed areas of your home. Your roof takes the brunt of the harsh weather and can be damaged by rain, snow, or even wind. With this in mind, it's vital that you carry out a roof inspection before and after winter to ensure that any developing problems are dealt with quickly. It's much easier to resolve a minor problem before a major one occurs.

How can I get on my roof safely?

Climbing on the roof can be dangerous, but if you have the right equipment and you know how to use it, then you should be able to carry out a ladder inspection, no problem. Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of roof ladders that are designed to help you access your roof safely. 

This Super-Trade Double Section Roof Ladder is one of our best sellers because it features heavy-duty galvanised steel hooks and an aluminium crossbar that provide strength without being too heavy. This roof ladder is perfect for carrying out a roof inspection several times a year and is built to last. 

Buy This Roof Ladder > 

What am I looking for during my roof inspection?

Whether you have roof tiles or roof slates, the general things to look out for during a roof inspection are the same. Here's a checklist of things for you to consider while you're assessing your roof:

  • Can you see any general wear and tear?
  • Do you see any loose materials that could potentially fall on passers-by?
  • Can you see any tiles or slates that are missing?
  • Do you see signs of algae/moss that could indicate it's damp under the tiles?
  • Is your guttering damaged or leaking?
  • Can you see pooling water?

All of these things indicate that your roof (or parts of the roof) are damaged. You should seek to have these repaired/dealt with quickly to ensure your roof remains functional and doesn't damage the inside of the house. 

So, to answer the question "how often should you have your roof inspected" the answer is, often! Investing in a roof ladder from Ladders UK Direct will help ensure you can carry out roof inspections for years to come.

Browse All Roof Ladders >

how do you know if a ladder is safe

Whether you're using a ladder for the first time or the 100th time, it's important that you know whether the ladder is safe before you start climbing. Ladder accidents are far more common than you might think, and in some circumstances, they can be fatal. That's why we're always encouraging you to use your ladders safely! Today we're going to look at some of the things you should check to determine if a ladder is safe to use.

Check that you've got the right ladder for the job

There are lots of people who think that there's a "one size fits all" approach to using ladders - but that simply isn't the case. To know whether your ladder is safe to use, you should first start by looking at its specifications.

  • Is it the right kind of ladder?
  • Is it the right height?
  • Can it support your weight? 
  • Is the workspace large enough for the job at hand?

If you find that the answer to any of these questions is no, then you should probably consider ordering a more appropriate ladder before you get started.

Risk assessment: Is your ladder safe?

How do you know if a ladder is safe? Well, when you've ensured that you've got the right ladder for the job, your next important job is to carry out a risk assessment. Physically checking the ladder before you use it is the only way you can ever guarantee that your ladder is safe. So, how do you go about it? We've covered a step ladder risk assessment in detail before, and the same principles can be applied to any ladder you're using. Here are the main things you should check:

  • Are there any signs of wear and tear on your ladder? 
  • Is your working area safe? Are there any obvious hazards eg. uneven or loose ground?
  • Will you need any additional tools? Do you have a safe method of transporting them up and down your ladder?
  • Can you estimate how long you'll be working on the ladder? If it's longer than 30 mins, can you factor in suitable breaks?

If you identify any of the risks outlined above, you need to put some precautions and solutions in place before you attempt to carry out the task at hand. A damaged ladder, uneven floor, or prolonged period of working at height can put you at serious risk of an injury, so you should never skip over the risk assessment if you don't know if a ladder is safe.

More on ladder safety:

If you don't know if a ladder is safe - don't use it! We'd always recommend edging on the side of caution and acquiring a new ladder that you KNOW is safe before undertaking any work at height. For more information about the ladders that we offer, drop us an email - sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

Tools on Roof

To increase the health and longevity of your building's roof, it is recommended that you conduct a roof inspection around twice a year. In some cases, not inspecting your roof and leaving it in a dire state can void your roof's warranty if you were ever to make a claim. So, it is vital that you carry out regular roof maintenance to avoid any unnecessary stress and issues in the future. 

More...