working safely at height

It's a sad fact that a lot of the accidental deaths in the workplace are directly linked to working at height. When working at height, it's absolutely vital that you have proper precautions in place to help prevent a slip or fall. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) have a lot of great information about working safely at height to show you how it's done properly. We've put together this blog, with the help of the HSE Working at Height Resource, to show you how to work at height safely.

Who should work at height?

You may think that because you have a ladder and you know how to climb it that you're perfectly competent to work at height safely. The truth is, even people who work at height every day can make mistakes. So, no matter who you are, if you need to work at height it's important you follow safety guidelines laid out by Health and Safety Executive.

Before you start working

Before you even think about touching a ladder, you need to make sure that the work has been planned properly, will be supervised properly and is being carried out by someone with the correct training/experience and knowledge of working safely at height. You also need to check that you've got the right safety equipment.

Assessing the risks

We've spoken about step ladder risk assessments before, but when you're working at height on any ladder, a risk assessment is important. Think about how long the task will take, how many times you'll need to do it, and the type of surface you'll be working on. Working safely at height is largely down to how well you understand and manage potential risks. For example, if you think that there's any chance of a slip or fall, make sure you explore fall arrest equipment before making a start.

Working safely at height - what you should and shouldn't do:

You should:

  • Get as much work done from the ground as you can
  • Make sure extra precautions are taken if you're working near a fragile/breakable surface
  • Ensure you're wearing protective headgear in case of falling objects
  • Consider what would happen in the event of an emergency & make sure everyone on site is aware
  • Ensure the climbing space is clear & free of debris

You shouldn't:

  • Lean over or overreach while using ladders or scaffolding
  • Overload ladders - make sure you check the maximum working weight before you start!
  • Use ladders for tasks that require you to work at height for longer than 30 minutes at a time
  • Use a ladder or work at height if you aren't qualified to do so

Ladders for Working Safely at Height

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a huge selection of ladders for domestic and trade use that will allow you to work at height safely. We work with well-known suppliers to bring you some of the safest & most-loved ladders on the market. Use the buttons below to shop our ladders & scaffold towers - perfect for working at height in any location.

Ladders >     Step Ladders >     Scaffold Towers >

If you have any questions about working safely at height, you can contact the Ladders UK Direct team here - sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

christmas tree ladder

As much as we love to share our ladder guides and health and safety tips with you...it's the season to be jolly! So, today we're bringing you a fun and creative DIY project that all the family can get involved in. If you're sick of finding pine needles everywhere, or you're tired of the cat ripping the decorations off the tree, then this ladder Christmas tree might be a great alternative for your home!

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we love a good Christmas decoration as much as the next person, and while a ladder can certainly be helpful for hanging mistletoe, lights and putting the star on the tree - it can also become part of the decorations with a bit of creative thinking!

We're going to show you how a simple step ladder can be turned into a sparkling tree for inside (or outside) your home. This is a great way to add an extra touch of festive magic without having to fork out on multiple trees. We also love the 'rustic' look these ladder Christmas trees offer.

Light it up

Nothing screams Christmas like wrapping things in fairy lights! While you're doing your bannister, your tree and your fence outside, make sure you purchase some lights for your ladder Christmas tree too. The best ones are battery operated so they don't need a mains connection.

This gives you a lot more flexibility to choose where you want your ladder Christmas tree to go. If you get outdoor fairy lights, you can even pop your ladder Christmas tree in the garden to give everyone a festive welcome as they approach your house.

Plant pots

If you simply can't live without the green shrubbery of a Christmas tree, you might want to add some potted plants on the rungs of your step ladder to give it a more natural look. The beauty of this is that you don't have to stick to the usual pine or conifer, you can choose any plants you like. We particularly love poinsettias with their bright red, Christmas colour!

Tinsel & trimmings

To finish off your ladder Christmas tree, add a selection of tinsel and trimmings like baubles and ornaments. This will give the finished 'tree' some character and charm! All you need to do now is wait for Santa to pop by and drop the presents off.

Whether you decide to go for something bold and bright or something stripped back and minimal, we're sure your ladder Christmas tree will look great! We particularly love the way these trees look in shop fronts and outside people's homes. Will you be giving it a try this year?

What ladder should I use for my ladder Christmas tree?

Most ladder Christmas trees are created using a step ladder because they're capable of standing on their own and they echo the typical 'Christmas tree shape'. Here are a few of our step ladders that we think would make great ladder Christmas trees! 

On the left is the 720 Series Fibreglass Podium Ladder that comes in a (very appropriate) red colour. On the right is our Heavy Duty Step Ladder in a more contemporary black shade.

Don't worry, no one is expecting you to buy a step ladder just for Christmas! Once they've been stripped of their lights and tinsel, these ladders will come in handy around the house and in the garden... you can't say that about your tree can you? 

Be sure to tag us in your pictures on Facebook or Twitter if you give this festive DIY idea a go. If you have any other questions about our ladders, don't hesitate to drop us an email at sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

Extension ladder

When purchasing a ladder, it's helpful to know what length you need. But what about width? Should you be taking that into consideration too?

More...

 

Working around electrical hazards is daunting for anyone. Ensuring you have the right equipment to keep you safe can put your mind at ease and help you get the job done without injury. 

For those of you who don't know, fibreglass ladders are recommended for electrical work because they're highly non-conductive, unlike aluminium or steel ladders which are highly conductive. But what does 'non-conductive' mean and how is a fibreglass ladder going to protect you against an electric shock?

A brief science lesson

Electricity always looks for the fastest route from the source to the ground, which usually means travelling through a conductive material. You may have heard the advice "don't be in a swimming pool during a thunderstorm" well this is because lightning is attracted to water because it's highly-conductive.

If you want to prevent electricity from passing through you into the ground when you're on a ladder, it's important you put something insulating as opposed to conductive between you and the ground. Aluminium and steel ladders are often conductive, so they're not the safest choice if you're working near a live wire or electrical cables. 

How do fibreglass ladders protect me?

Fibreglass ladders, however, are insulating which means electricity can't pass through them. By putting a fibreglass ladder between you and the ground, you're making sure that the quickest route to the ground is not through your body! This means that, should the worst happen, you'll be protected and shouldn't get an electric shock.

Choosing a fibreglass ladder

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of fibreglass ladders to help you work around electricity safely. Whether you need a low-level step ladder, an extension ladder for extra reach or a combination for use in hallways and on stairs - we have a fibreglass ladder for you!

Fibreglass Ladders >        Fibreglass Steps >

 If you have any questions about our fibreglass ladders or how they protect against electricity, don't hesitate to call us on 01446 789538. Our team of experts are happy to help you with any queries you may have.

calculate ladder length

If you want to work safely on a ladder, it's important to purchase one that's the right length for the task at hand. While you may think you can look at a particular wall and have a sensible guess at the ladder height you need, you're never going to be 100% accurate. If you want to calculate the right ladder length, follow these steps.

Extension Ladder Length

In order to be used safely, extension ladders need to be leant up against a hard surface with a suitable pitch. If you're working on a platform like a roof, you need to make sure your ladder extends a few feet past the workspace. When calculating the right extension ladder length, it's important to take these extra few feet into account.

Here's an example to show you how to calculate the right ladder height for a 20ft wall.

To work safely, your extension ladder needs to be pitched at a ratio of 4:1. So for every 4 feet up, you need to move the ladder 1 foot out. This is known as the '1 in 4' rule.

So, if you want to work on a 20ft wall, the ladder needs to be moved 5ft out. Propping a ladder against a wall creates a right-angled triangle, with the ladder as the hypotenuse (longest side), so it's time to think back to maths class: to calculate the length of the hypotenuse, we'll need to use Pythagoras's theorem.

Ladder lenght calculation

In case you haven't brushed up on your trigonometry lately, Pythagoras's theorem states that the length of the hypotenuse squared = the triangle's height squared + the triangle's width squared. Let's apply this to the example above...

  • 20 squared is 400
  • 5 squared is 25
  • 400 + 25 = 425
  • The square root of 425 (to two decimal places) is 20.62

This means that your ladder needs to be 20.62 feet long (minimum) to allow for the ladder to be propped up against the wall at a safe angle.

Then, you need to add a few feet so that the extension ladder can extend past the working ledge. So, if you want to climb a 20ft wall, you need a ladder that's approximately 24ft long!

Shop Extension Ladders >

Step Ladder Length

Calculating the right step ladder length is a little easier because you don't need to take pitch into account. Just bear in mind:

  • The step ladder will need to get you within roughly 4ft of the area you're working on
  • You must not stand on the top three treads of a swingback step ladder (see Step Ladder Do's and Don'ts)

Let's use a 10ft wall for our example - if you want to work on a gutter that's 10ft off the ground, you'll need a step ladder whose platform or topmost safe tread is 6ft off the ground. This allows for the 4ft working space we mentioned before.

Shop Step Ladders >

Still not 100% sure how to calculate the ladder length you need? Contact the Ladders UK Direct team for expert advice.