The Biggest Killer in the UK Workplace

It may come as no surprise to learn that yet again falls from height continue to claim yet more lives in the workplace and unfortunately once again tops the list as being the UK’s biggest workplace killer.

The Health and Safety Executive report the morbid findings to serve as a warning to the construction industry as more prosecutions have taken place in relation to unsafe working practices when working at height.

Any work which involves leaving ground level needs meticulous planning and proper risk assessments carried out no matter what height you will be working from.

Just last week a main contractor and a concrete structures firm were prosecuted for failing to follow essential safety measures after a man fell 19 metres from a scaffold in 2008 and tragically died. The Heath and Safety Executive ruled that persistent and systematic failures to follow working at height regulations had resulted in the tragic accident. It was not the first time the company concerned had fallen foul of health and safety regulations – they had received repeated warnings from consultants to improve their health and safety measures. Employees described communication between senior employees and workers on site as virtually non-existent.

Unfortunately such accidents are showing no signs of abating despite the numerous warning issued by the health and safety executive. Scaffolding and scaffold towers are highly dangerous if they are not erected correctly.

Employees must undertake relevant training before attempting to assemble any scaffold on site. Furthermore, they must have the correct knowledge needed to select the correct working equipment to begin with.

A correctly assembled scaffold tower will be dangerous if it is not used in accordance with manufacturer guidelines and not designed for the work intended. Just last week a man appeared in court for failing to follow a prohibition order issued by a health and safety officer. The man was issued with the order for working from the top of an unsafe scaffold tower and was formally told to stop using it. The man was using the structure again just 3 hours after he was handed the prohibition order.

The tragedy is, many accidents could be so easily avoided. These accidents are the result of failure to follow essential safety guidelines and having little or no regard for the safety of employees or contractors.

Working from height always carries a risk and without careful thought and consideration given to how best to carry out the required job is inevitably going to lead to serious accidents.

Working from height is a serious business which carries huge risks – only practice ‘Good Practice’ and don’t take risks or chances.

 

 



Ladders and Scaffold Towers are a Leading UK Distributor of Ladders, Loft Ladders, Scaffold Towers, Aluminium Ladders, Extension Ladders , Ladder Accessories and all access equipment.

The Tradespersons Most Indispensable Tool

Has to be a ladder! Rather like a dog being a mans best friend, a job can become rather tricky without having a ladder to hand.

Of course everyone knows what a ladder is and how useful they can be in all kinds of situations, which often crop up unexpectedly.

Ladders have been around since Ancient time and were often made from vegetation woven together – quite possibly from anything they could find – of course in the UK we have moved on significantly in materials used for making ladders, many parts of the world are still making and using their own make shift ladders. Those who follow the BPS Access Solutions Facebook page will be aware of the many photos on this page which clearly show examples of ladders which would not pass even a basic safety test! We have ladders made from bamboo, pallet material and even people!

In the UK we are fortunate in that we do not have to worry about making own our ladders from scrap materials, but nevertheless, there still remains a whole myriad of ladders from which to choose. Keeping ladder safety as a separate issue (we have discussed ladder safety in depth in a previous blog) it can be a difficult decision knowing what type of ladder is most suited to a specific need and with many different materials which ladders are made from nowadays, it is easy to understand why people remain confused.

We have put together a few guidelines which we are often asked by our many customers who contact us on a daily basis seeking ladder advice.

What material should my ladder be made of?

We speak to lots of people, particularly people who enjoy carrying out DIY around their home who only occasionally need to buy a new ladder. Many of these people own a wooden ladder which they have owned for many years. They are often looking for a like for like replacement. Whilst wooden ladders are still available in a small number of outlets, we would recommend replacing a wooden ladder with an aluminium ladder. Aluminium ladders are far lighter and durable as well as being rot and corrosion resistant. They are also far cheaper than a wooden ladder and are both flame and water resistant  The other good news about aluminium ladders is that they are available to virtually every ladder type from step ladders to extension ladders.

As with all types of tools, it is important that aluminium ladders are stored correctly when not in use. Aluminium ladders do not like prolonged exposure to damp and salty conditions. Chemical exposure can also cause the aluminium to deteriorate  Always use your aluminium ladders according to the manufacturers guidelines. For example do not throw or use the ladder with excess force or roughness as this can cause the ladder to become bent or misshaped.

If you work as an electrician or near electricity, you may want to consider a fibre glass ladder as an alternative to an aluminium ladder. As you will be aware, fibre glass is an electrical insulator. Additionally fibre glass ladders are extremely tough and rugged. It is virtually impossible to bend, will not rot and does not deteriorate easily in damp conditions. Fibre glass ladders do however cost more than aluminium ladders and also weigh more.

Rope ladders are used primarily for safety purposes such as fire escape. In fact we recommend having at least 1 rope ladder in your home which you could deploy easily to the event of a house fire. This will enable you to get outside easily from an upstairs window if the downstairs were inaccessible. Rope ladders as the name suggests are often made from rope but steel and aluminium are also often used to maintain product quality and reliability over several years.

Our main ladder safety tip is to only use the ladder for the purpose intended. No matter how safe the ladder is, if it is used incorrectly you could still sustain a nasty injury. We are always happy to advice anyone on the best ladder for their needs. Always read the instructions before use and always follow safe assembly and usage guidelines.



Ladders and Scaffold Towers are a Leading UK Distributor of Ladders, Loft Ladders, Scaffold Towers, Aluminium Ladders, Extension Ladders , Ladder Accessories and all access equipment.

Just How Are Rockclimbing Photos Taken?

How often do you find yourself staring in awe at an amazing photograph seemingly taken on a precarious rockface several hundred feet up in the air.

Thinking about it, a rock climber would never be far enough away from the rock surface to get a decent picture and then it would be the matter of taking your hands from the rock surface in order to obtain the shot.

So putting my fear of heights aside what could be used to obtain that all important photo? A stuntperson perhaps?

As you’ve probably now worked out, this would not be on the blog of BPS Access Solutions without a ladder being involved somewhere and there we have it – in order to achieve that awe inspiring shot requires the use of a stepladder which the climber stands on the top step in order to point the camera lens down the rockface to obtain the shot.

Is it worth risking your life for?

Well if you are the famed solo climber Alex Honnold, it will be all in a days work – and no doubt the scarier the prospect the better as it seems he does not even have any safety ropes!

This photo sparks a pure adrenalin fix as soon as you look at it as clearly anything could go wrong at any second…..

All we need to know is how high off the ground are they? Is this a spoof shot taken against a rock face background or are they really several hundred feet in the air?

Needless to say we don’t need to remind you not to try this at home and our blog is solely designed for entertainment purposes only!

For maximum effect, try rotating the photo to obtain a different angle perspective – it is interesting!



Ladders and Scaffold Towers are a Leading UK Distributor of Ladders, Loft Ladders, Scaffold Towers, Aluminium Ladders, Extension Ladders , Ladder Accessories and all access equipment.