Avoid the shock of electrical accidents
Jan 6, 2020
As tradesmen become more aware of the importance of non-conductive ladders, particularly when carrying out electrical work, it is crucial that wholesalers are stocking a range of suitable products to meet this demand. Jamie Brassington, Product Manager at WernerCo discusses the key benefits of fibreglass that wholesalers should be aware of, and how they can play their part in educating those who are still yet to make the switch.
Each year around 1,000 accidents at work involving electric shock or burns are reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Despite being what, to many, may seem an obvious consideration, there are still tradesmen who either don’t use non-conductive ladders or who aren’t supplied with one by their employer. When not supplied with suitable equipment, tradesmen are left at a higher risk of experiencing shocks that are conducted by traditional aluminium ladders.
So, how can wholesalers play their part in educating and encouraging tradesmen to move to safer fibreglass alternatives?
The benefits of fibreglass
One of the main benefits of fibreglass ladders is the fact that they are designed with non-conductive stiles, which means the risk of shock can be avoided. This feature is essential for those working near electricity, for undertaking electrical contracting jobs or for domestic electrical works.
Not only is fibreglass a good solution for working around electricity but the material is also extremely resistant to weathering and does not absorb moisture, making it ideal when working in wet or damp environments. Regular contact with water and chemicals is likely for tradesmen, so it’s wise to minimise the risk of long-term damage by choosing fibreglass rather than aluminium ladders. The material is also non-marking, warmer to the touch and retains its smooth surface over the duration of its lifetime.
One of the biggest players in fibreglass ladder market is WernerCo, a company whose Youngman brand is perhaps better known in the UK market. The complete fibreglass range features durable seven-layer fibreglass-constructed rails, which maintains a smooth surface even after weathering and ensures maximum protection for the user.
By being aware of these key features, wholesalers are in a prime position to explain the benefits of fibreglass to their customers, especially those who don’t have a particular product in mind and are looking for a trusted recommendation.
Why it’s important to stock
In the US, over 50% of all ladders sold across all trades and construction industries are fibreglass. Despite current UK sales figures being lower than in US markets, WernerCo’s UK sales have been rising year-on-year since the company launched its fibreglass range in the UK nearly 20 years ago, as more electricians and tradesmen shift away from traditional materials.
With that in mind, it is just as important that wholesalers stock a range of fibreglass alternatives as it is to stock commodity products in order to meet this increasing customer demand.
When stocking fibreglass ladders, wholesalers should ensure they are choosing a reputable manufacturer in order to guarantee the quality of the product, as cheaper imports may not be as safe or thoroughly tested. Additionally, any fibreglass ladder should be approved to the latest EN131 standard to certify its use for professional work.
While manufacturers can continue to develop their fibreglass offering and create informative materials, it is only with the help of wholesalers and merchants that their full range of benefits can be widely communicated to the end-user. By working together, wholesalers are in prime position to help promote a safer working environment and reduce the number of accidents each year.