If you ever have to work outdoors, the weather conditions that you find yourself in can have a tremendous effect on your overall safety, especially when high winds are involved. 

The wind is often a neglected and ignored weather condition when working outside, most likely down to the fact that it is invisible and as such is not top of the mind. However, despite us not being physically able to see high winds, they have the ability to cause real damage to anyone that is caught working in them, especially if you're on a ladder!

So, how do you keep yourself safe when working in windy conditions? Ladders UK Direct are here to give you some easy ladder safety tips that help minimise the risks involved with working outdoors in high winds.

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diy in lockdown

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, DIY projects have become increasingly popular. With more time at home and very few things to entertain us, it only makes sense that you tackle some of the home improvements that you've been putting off. In normal circumstances, you might have hired a professional to get the job done properly. However, tradesmen are busier than ever and we're being advised to limit our interactions where possible, so a DIY approach might be preferable this time around.

Luckily, a lot of DIY stores like B&Q, Halfords, and (most importantly) Ladders UK Direct are still trading, which means you can get your hands on the materials and equipment you need. Shop Ladders Now >

If this is your first time doing any kind of home DIY, you might be following YouTube tutorials and 'winging it' to a certain extent - which creates some pretty serious safety concerns. Tradespeople with years of experience and knowledge are able to manage the risks properly. In comparison, your average Joe following a YouTube tutorial might make one wrong move and end up damaging their home, or worse, injuring themselves. In this blog, we're going to take a look at some of the safety precautions you can take to reduce your risk of DIY injuries during lockdown.

 

Do a risk assessment

Before you start any DIY job you should carry out a risk assessment. Professional tradespeople always do them to make sure that all the potential risks are managed. Now, we're not expecting you to fill in paperwork, but you should definitely take some time to look a the job, the tools and equipment, and the working area before you get started. 

A lot of people decide they want to do a DIY job and just dive right into it without any forward planning - this is where accidents occur. It's good that you're keen to get things done, but your safety always has to come first!

We've gone into detail to show you how a step ladder risk assessment should be carried out, but the same steps can be applied to any kind of DIY risk assessment.

  • Identify potential hazards
  • Come up with solutions to eliminate the hazards

For example: "My ladder is missing a couple of rungs, which means I'll struggle to climb to the correct height safely"

Solution: Don't use a ladder that's damaged, order a new one and make sure it's in good working order before you start your DIY project.

Some potential DIY risks to be aware of

You might think that most DIY jobs come without risk, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Every DIY job comes with risks, some are just more obvious than others. Here are a few risks that you might not have considered...

Painting and/or putting up wallpaper 

Check that the room you're decorating has adequate ventilation. A lot of people start decorating with the windows and doors clothes and end up giving themselves a severe headache from the fumes!

Putting up pictures/shelves

Drilling directly into a wall blindly is a definite risk. Check that you're not going to hit any important wires or cables by investing in a cable detector.

Electrics/wiring

The risks that come along with electrical DIY can be life-threatening. We'd recommend using a fibreglass ladder to reduce your risk of electric shock. If in doubt, always seek the help of a professional electrician.

Avoid doing unnecessary/overly-dangerous DIY

One of the easiest ways to reduce your risk of injury is to assess each DIY job and decide whether or not the risk you're taking is absolutely essential. If you're not confident that you can complete a DIY project safely, it might be best to avoid doing it at all. 

Ending up in the hospital right now will put more pressure on the NHS and also increases your chances of catching COVID-19, so, if in doubt - leave it to the professionals. 

That being said, with a thorough risk assessment, the right equipment, and some prior knowledge, there are a lot of DIY jobs that anyone can do during lockdown!

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 If you have any questions about the right kind of ladder for your DIY project, drop us an email at sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

can you put a ladder against a window

Whether you've decided to clean your windows, paint the outside of your house or clean the guttering, you might be wondering if you can put a ladder against a window to reach the right height. It might seem like the easiest route to get the job done, but putting a ladder against a window can be really dangerous. 

The short answer to the question - "can you put a ladder against a window" is no. You should never attempt to lean a ladder against a window even if you think it's secure. The force of the ladder against the glass plus the additional weight of you, your equipment, etc. can cause the glass to crack or shatter.

How can you avoid leaning your ladder against a window?

There are a few things you could try if you think you might have to lean your ladder against a window. All of these options are sure to keep you safe and prevent the glass from cracking. Remember, you should never climb your ladder unless you're 100% sure it's safe and secure.

  • Choose a longer ladder - Finding a ladder that will reach past the window and lean on the wall above will keep you safe. 
  • Use longer tools - As long as you're not doing work that involves close contact tools, you could invest in longer tools to reach over the window. This is a great option for window cleaning. 
  • Choose a tripod ladder - Tripod ladders, like step ladders, have built-in supports that will keep the ladder upright so you don't have to lean against the window.
  • Consider scaffolding - While this might seem like a bit of a drastic alternative, it can actually be very beneficial if your project is going to take longer than a few hours. Plus you won't need to go anywhere near the windows!

Possible dangers of leaning your ladder against a window

So, at this point, you might be thinking... I don't want to buy a new ladder... what's the worst that could happen?

Well, we've seen a lot of people work with a lot of different ladders so we know the kinds of injuries that can be sustained when you ignore advice and use your ladder in an unsafe manner! 

Here are a few things that could happen if you decide to lean your ladder against a window:

  • The glass could shatter at head height, causing shards of glass to hit you in the face or shower down onto you.
  • You could be jolted off the ladder if the glass pane breaks and the ladder is suddenly un-supported.
  • You might reach and grab hold of the window frame that's full of broken glass shards.

None of these things sound particularly pleasant do they, and they're sure to put you out of action for a while. We always preach ladder safety, but we're doing it for your own good - not ours!

If you're unsure which ladder is right for the job, drop us an email at sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk and our friendly team will happily assist you.

Shop All Ladders NOW!

Read More:

- Ladder Safety Tips

- Carrying Tools Up a Ladder

- How to Climb a Ladder Safely

 

are ladders safe, ladder safety

Ladders are a pretty universal piece of equipment that every man and his dog has in the garage. Tradespeople have them, homeowners have them and (if you don't already) you should have one too!

If so many people have ladders then surely they must be safe. Right? Well, not necessarily. As with all pieces of equipment, the equipment itself might be perfectly safe, but if the person using it does so in an unsafe way, then that's where accidents and injuries occur. 

When it comes to answering the question "are my ladders safe?" you need to consider a few things. Have you inspected the ladder itself for potential faults or weaknesses? And do you have the proper training and safety procedures in place to ensure that you can use the ladder properly?

How can you check if a ladder is safe?

If you've had a ladder stored away in the garage for a while, you might be wondering how safe it is to use. This is a perfectly normal concern that can be resolved by carrying out a simple ladder inspection before you get to work. During your initial inspection you should:

  • Check that the rungs are all firmly attached and in place
  • Look for damaged parts like corroded nails
  • Identify any cracks or splits
  • Ensure that all moving parts are working

If the ladder appears to be in good working order then it's probably safe to use. However, if for any reason you suspect that something has corroded, broken or stopped working since you last used it then it might be time to order a replacement. Take a look at our ladders below:

Our Ladders >       Our Step Ladders >        Our Roof Ladders >

How to use a ladder safely

It probably comes as no surprise that the biggest cause of ladder accidents is human error - and nothing to do with ladders themselves. As we said, ladders are safe as long as they're in the right hands. Here are a few points to remember if you want to use a ladder safely:

1. Always make sure that the work you need to do has been planned properly & that all risks have been considered.

2. Do as much work as you can from the ground. You should only use the ladder when it's absolutely necessary.

3. Ensure that the area you're working in has been cleared of obstacles/debris.

4. Think about what you're wearing. Do you need extra PPE to work safely?

5. Consider what would happen in the event of an emergency. Do you have the right precautions in place to prevent an injury?

By being aware of yourself, your surroundings and the task at hand, you can make sure that your ladder is safe. Climbing up your ladder with no prior thought is bound to cause an accident, so please be mindful of proper ladder safety practices before you get to work.

So to answer your question, "are ladders safe?" - yes. Ladders are an incredibly safe piece of equipment as long as they're looked after, checked regularly and used by a competent person. 

Take a look at our other ladder safety blogs for more information:

If you have any other questions about our ladders, don't hesitate to give us a call on 01446 789538.

covid-19 testing for tradespeople

A recent announcement from the government means that rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will be rolled out across all local authorities for tradespeople and key workers who cannot work from home. This is great news for tradespeople who, up until now, could have been transmitting the virus around the homes that they visited for work without even knowing.

So far, 131 local authorities have signed up to the scheme, but the government plans to rapidly expand it so that rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 tests will be available to tradespeople across the entire country.

NHS track and trace are also working closely with the government to improve workforce testing. So far, 27,000 rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 tests have been carried out for public sector workers.

What are the benefits of testing asymptomatic people?

Current evidence suggests that 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 don't have any symptoms. This means there are thousands of people living and working among us, who don't even know that they have the virus. 

The government's new plan to make rapid testing available to tradespeople and other workers that interact with the public on a daily basis aims to curb the spread of the virus. Tradespeople who test positive for the virus (despite showing no symptoms) will be asked to self-isolate. 

While this may seem inconvenient if you're a self-employed tradesperson, it certainly is a step in the right direction in terms of protecting people in the homes you're visiting and making sure that the country's vital services can continue to operate safely. So far, asymptomatic tests have helped to identify almost 15,000 people who would never have known that they had the virus.

How do I arrange a rapid COVID-19 test?

The government haven't yet released a list of rapid COVID-19 test centres because the system is still in its early stages. That being said, if you're a tradesperson who's interested in having a rapid asymptomatic COVID-19 test, you should contact your local authority to find out where they're being carried out in your local area. They can advise you on how to book the test and where to go for it.

How does the rapid COVID-19 test work?

First, a swab is taken from your nostrils or the back of your throat. This part is similar to a standard COVID-19 test. Next, your sample is mixed with a solution and a drip is added to the test's sample well. 

The test takes 30 minutes to develop, then you should see your results as either positive, negative or inconclusive. If your test is inconclusive, you may be asked to book another one.

This new system of rapid testing is guaranteed to make working life safer for tradespeople, and we're hopeful that this will give you all a bit of normality back.

Give us a call if you're heading back to work and need to update your toolkit with a new ladder. We have some great trade discounts available if you apply for one of our trade accounts.

Sign up for a trade account >

Read More: Can Tradespeople Work During Lockdown?

Yep, you read that right - desperate times call for desperate measures and football fans will do anything to catch a glimpse of their beloved sport.

football stadium

A recent news report told how at least 10 fans of Deveronvale FC used step ladders to peer into the Princess Royal Park Stadium in Banff. A stadium that they're currently not allowed to enter due to COVID-19 restrictions.

They've been warned that this is not an acceptable way to watch the football match... (but you have to applaud their dedication).

On a separate occasion, crowds gathered with their step ladders to catch a glimpse of the Highland League matches, but critics warn that this reckless behaviour would only lead to prolonged stadium closures.

The creativity of the persistent Scottish football fans didn't end there... two people were seen aboard a cherry picker outside Pittodrie trying to watch Aberdeen's season opener against the Rangers. 

We know it's frustrating that you can't watch the football matches in person, but most clubs are streaming footage of the matches so that you can watch remotely.

So, while we don't recommend purchasing our step ladders to watch a football match, we do recommend having one on hand so you can finally get those odd jobs done during the lockdown. Then, you can put it back in the garage, relax and enjoy the match from the safety of your own home! 

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Triple extension ladder

A surgeon from Portsmouth recently stated that he was 'lucky to be alive' after suffering an eighteen-foot fall. Professor Peter Brennan's rubber-footed ladder slipped while he was cleaning his gutters, resulting in what he called the "most terrifying 2 seconds of my life", followed by "lots of injuries and multiple fractures".

As we've discussed previously on this blog, there are several precautions you can take to reduce the risk of ladder slippage - but Prof. Brennan "checked and double checked" to make sure that his ladder was safe, and he endured a nasty fall nonetheless.

This goes to show that, no matter how careful you are, you can never be 100% sure that an accident will not occur. So what should you do if you're standing on a ladder and, in spite of all safety measures, it begins to fall?

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Did you know that 40% of all on the job deaths that occur at work are a result of a fall from height? These typically involve workers that have been tasked with working on roofs and hard to reach places using a ladder. Unfortunately, this is a very damning fact, but one that can be addressed through simple and effective safety measures. 

Preventative steps such as sufficient training in the safe use of ladders as well as providing equipment that is fit for purpose will have a dramatic impact on reducing these numbers. Another important way that you can keep safe whilst working at height is by wearing the correct clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Unsure about what clothes and PPE you should be wearing when using a ladder? Read on to find out!

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Painter on ladder

If you are an employer, the safety of your workers is ultimately your responsibility. And this includes when they are using a ladder to work at height.

Now, some people may think otherwise and that when people are using a ladder, their safety is their own responsibility. However, this is far from the truth. So, if an employee of yours does fall from a ladder and injures themselves, what will happen to you? Can you be fined? Let's find out...

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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 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 for the job. 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 working at height, a risk assessment is even more 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. 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 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 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.