Selecting the most suitable working at height equipment
Mar 1, 2021
When it comes to working at height, it’s crucial that tradesmen are using the correct equipment to help minimise the risk of accidents. Jamie Brassington, Product Manager at WernerCo, talks through some of the different types of work at height equipment builders should be using for specific jobs.
The latest ‘Workplace Fatal Injuries in Great Britain 2020' Annual Statistics report from the Health Safety Executive (HSE) found that whilst there has been a 24% reduction in the number of fatal accidents in 2019/20, the construction sector still accounts for the significant proportion of these and falls from height remain the main cause of fatal accidents.
With this in mind, having the right equipment available can play a vital role in helping to improve safety on site and reduce the number of accidents that could occur when working at height.
So, what are the different types of working at height equipment that tradesmen should utilise and when should they be used?
Step ladders are some of the most common types of work at height equipment used by tradesmen. Providing a safe and stable means of working, step ladders are available in a range of different working heights and styles, such as platform and swingback step ladders.
Regulations prohibit overstretching or standing above the recommended working height of the ladder, which is one of the common causes of accidents on site, so it’s important that tradesmen check the standing height and the approximate reach. If they cannot safely reach the working area, tradesmen should consider a different type of ladder, such as an extension ladder, provided that three points of contact can be kept at all times. If not, then they may need to opt for an access tower instead.
Fibreglass ladders are essential for any tradesman working around electricity. One of the main benefits of this type of ladder is that they are designed with non-conductive stiles, reducing the risk of electric shocks.
Fibreglass ladders are also extremely resistant to weathering and do not absorb moisture, making them ideal when working in wet or damp environments. This durability minimises the risk of long-term damage to the product, making them a great day-to-day solution too.
WernerCo manufactures a comprehensive range of fibreglass ladders. Under the reputable Werner® and Youngman® brands are a choice of trade and industrial-standard platform and swingback stepladders, plus a comprehensive selection of utility extension ladders.
For low-level access jobs, work platforms are a great solution. Most options on the market will offer a large slip-resistant work platform, allowing tradesmen to easily and safely move as they work, whilst also being incredibly easy to transport. Many work platforms will be compact enough to fit into the boot of most standard cars, whilst WernerCo have taken this one step further by designing a range of Werner work platforms with slim-fold legs that can fold completely flat.
This is also an area that has seen recent innovation. For example, the Werner work platform range has recently been expanded to include an adjustable work platform that can be adjusted to different working heights and a linking work platform, which allows multiple products to be connected, creating a longer working space.
When working at height for longer periods of time, for example over 30 minutes as recommended by the HSE, an access tower is going to be a more suitable option rather than a ladder.
When it comes to access towers, there is a wide variety of solutions to choose from. In order to choose the most suitable solution, tradesmen must closely consider the requirements of the job, including working height, whether they’re working indoors or outdoors, the need for mobility and any special requirements such as working around obstacles or over stairs.
To save professionals valuable time, WernerCo developed the BoSS® Tower Selector online guide. Available on the BoSS website, it helps users identify the most suitable access tower in just five easy steps.
Socially distanced solutions
Whilst ladders are safe for solo use, if the job requires an access tower, tradesmen must now consider whether they can safely practice social distancing when using a product.
The Government’s guidelines ultimately mean that single person towers are currently an essential piece of equipment for many sites. The BoSS SOLO700 access tower for example is a one-person tower that is designed to be built and dismantled by one person, rather than two as required by most standard towers, making it ideal for social distancing in the workplace. Available with safe working heights between 3.2m and 5.2m, this tower is quick and easy to assemble, with the base unit also forming as a trolley to simplify transportation on the jobsite.
By being knowledgeable about the different type of equipment that can be utilised when working at height, tradesmen will be able to make informed choices when working, helping to reduce the risk of accidents on site.
T: 0121 454 9707
T: 0121 454 9707