Why are podium steps the preferred choice of safety officers?
Whether working alone at home or as part of a team in the workplace, any work performed at height comes with a variety of risks which are difficult to eliminate with simpler ladders or stepladders. For the individual working alone in private premises, the outcome of a fall from height especially while using tools can be debilitating if not fatal with no one to raise the alarm. The only way to truly reduce the risk as much as possible is to use the most stable and strong equipment such as a set of podium steps.
In the workplace falls whilst working at height are the number one cause of employee fatalities and consistently one of the leading causes of injuries sustained at work. With Health and Safety Executive guidelines becoming stricter and working at height now defined as any height above ground level rather than the two metre height previously specified, podium steps are the only equipment for low level work guaranteed to gain HSE approval. They are also very easy to set up so require little staff training in installation and are designed to be easy to use safely by anyone with the minimum of instruction.
Aside from the need for approval, there are many ways in which industrial podium steps are a far safer and user friendly piece of equipment than a ladder or stepladder:
- Greater contact area with ground surface – most podium steps come with solid castor wheels that can be locked to prevent movement or twisting or the podium base can instead be fitted with anti surf base plates. These are flat metal feet that give greater grip on the floor and prevent any movement of the structure as well as ensuring the podium cannot be moved without the user dismounting, reducing chance of accidents. Many work sites have now made these a mandatory requirement. The larger structural footprint also means the podium will not be tipped over by doors being accidentally opened into it or being knocked by work vehicles such as forklifts or pallet lifters. In fact the larger profile of a podium makes it far more visible to other workers and vehicles, reducing the likelihood of any impacts.
- Fixed solid structure – as well as being constructed from Aluminium which is strong and non corroding, all our podiums are constructed from 50mm tubing as used for industrial scaffolding with any joins being strongly welded around the entire diameter of the tube, giving the strongest possible join to a structure that is built to last. The Aluminium platforms do not warp or bow over time and use as wooden ones tend to and have a chequer plate textured surface to prevent slipping as do the steps to reach the platform. The integral brace at the back and lockable internal brace give further stability and reduce swaying when in use. Larger models also come with fitted outriggers, two arms with non slip feet to counter the increased risk of tipping from taller structures.
- Greater work access – As a podium is fitted with a lockable one metre high safety rail around its perimeter the risk of falling is obviously reduced significantly but this and the size of the platform allow the user to move around and gives 360 degree access to work. This allows the user to reach further without risking the temptation to lean out and tip a ladder or lose their balance and fall. Side on work is also made far more convenient without the need to secure equipment for stability and the safety rail to prevent a fall as well as the width of the platform extending the user’s reach. One of the main drawbacks of working on a ladder or a stepladder is the need to maintain three points of contact in order to be safe, that is to make sure that the feet and one hand be in contact with the equipment as much as possible unless performing a task that requires reaching up with both hands and even this should be done for the shortest time possible. Obviously standing flat on a stable platform means this is no longer a risk to the user and jobs that require both hands to be free are no longer an issue. The platform also provides space for equipment so the user does not have to ascend and descend the ladder each time a new tool is needed, reducing the amount of potential slips and falls.
- Ease of use – HSE regulations require that ladders be set at a 75 degree angle to the floor if free standing or be secured to a structure which can be difficult when working in narrow spaces. They can also be difficult to transport or store due to their size. Even stepladders with locking arms can be unstable and prone to tipping unless they have been secured in place which is often time consuming and inconvenient. All our podium steps are designed for even an amateur user to erect in less than one minute on their own. Unfold the frame, fit the podium platform, braces and steps and be ready to use immediately with no need for securing in place. Once finished, the wheels can be unlocked and the podium easily moved and then locked in place again for further work. Unlike ladders and stepladders which need to be safety checked each time they are moved within the workplace, after the podium has been erected and safety checked it can be moved and locked in place without the need for further checks. When finished the podium steps can be folded flat and are small enough to be easily transported in most vans or on a roof rack. When folded flat the podium can still be wheeled around on its castors making it easy for even one user to transport by hand and it will easily fit through doorways or down narrow corridors.
The points discussed above clearly show why any site safety officer would prefer podium steps over ladders or stepladders in the workplace. They are far stronger and more stable, easy for staff to use with the minimum of training, easy and safe to transport, easy to inspect and the only way to secure full HSE approval for low level work at height. BPS Access Solutions have 6 different sizes of industrial podium steps for sale (from 0.75m to 2.00m height) that conform to the very latest BS8620 standard (for strength, access, stability and rigidity) along with a range of accessories and safety inspection kits. All our podium steps are designed and manufactured in the United Kingdom and we guarantee the lowest prices and free delivery with an after sales service second to none.
Please contact our expert staff who will happily deal with any queries you may have and help to find the product most suited to your needs.
Telephone: 0333 006 9776
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