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It’s nearly that time of year when spooky decorations get put up for parties across the country – Halloween is almost upon us. For many people, half the fun of the day is decorating their house in scary adornments ranging from skulls and bats to angry pumpkins and spider webs. Whether you’re attempting to frighten trick-or-treaters or preparing the house for an unforgettable Halloween party you need to make sure that you put up for your decorations safely. Injuring yourself can be scary for all the wrong reasons, so follow the advice below this Halloween.  

Are your decorations safe?

The first thing that you need to ask yourself before you get started is: are my Halloween decorations safe? It’s all well and good hanging up huge ornaments above your door, but if they fall and hurt someone it can ruin the evening.

Remember that some items are designed to be used indoors and aren’t necessarily going to be safe if placed on the exterior – this could apply to lights or anything that is electrical. For example, you may need to invest in waterproof extension leads (especially as the weather can be so changeable this time of year). Always check the label of any decoration before using it to ensure it will be safe. 

Use appropriate ladders

It is the case that the most common way that people injure themselves when putting up Halloween decorations is when they fall from height. Whether trying to balance on a chair to hang lights or using a ladder that isn’t fit for purpose, any kind of work at height can be dangerous if you aren’t using the right equipment for the task.

When working outdoors you should use a ladder that is suitable – in other words, one that gives you sufficient height to reach the task comfortably. Remember if you are working with electricity it can be prudent to use a wooden or fibreglass ladder than does not conduct electrical current, rather than a steel one. If you are hanging up decorations indoors, don’t take any risks here either. Use a step ladder than allows you to reach the ceiling rather than any kind of makeshift access equipment!

Make sure you check lights

Another hazard is malfunctioning or broken lights. You should always check your lights (and any electrically powered Halloween decorations) before you put them up. When lights are faulty they can give electric shocks, create sparks or even burn your skin, so make sure that you check them over carefully. Naturally it’s also prudent to check your decorations work before you put them up. It could be extremely frustrating to spend hours setting up lights only to discover that half of them won’t switch on. 

Follow standard safety precautions

Halloween parties can be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean that you should abandon all safety precautions when you set them up. Use the correct type of ladder, wear sensible footwear and gloves, as well as any other protection equipment you need. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

When does a ladder need replacing?

13 October 2017 08:15:42 GMT

Is it time to replace your ladder? Whether you are carrying out DIY or doing work at height professionally, it’s important to be working with high quality equipment. If you have any concerns about the ladder that you are going to use it could be worth investing in a new one for your peace of mind. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons you might need to replace your ladder. 

When it is damaged

Each time you use your ladder you should take a moment beforehand to check it over – when a ladder is in poor condition or damaged it can be dangerous to work on. Take a look for signs of wear on the feet, rungs and sides. If it is looking worn down you may wish to consider buying a new ladder to minimise the risk that the current ladder could buckle or break and cause you injury. Be aware of the age of your ladder too as this can be an indicator of how much lifespan it has left. 

When it is not tall enough

It is not only when a ladder is in poor condition that you may need to think of purchasing a replacement, it could also be that the ladder is not fit for purpose. One of the most common scenarios is that the ladder you have is not tall enough to carry out the work – this can cause some to use the ladder precariously or to overstretch and put themselves in a dangerous positon. It’s a much better and safer idea to simply replace your ladder with a taller model.

When a different type of ladder would be safer

Clearly one of the key issues working at height is safety, so if you are going to be getting on a ladder to carry out any sort of work you need to feel secure. It may be the case that using a different type of ladder – for example, using a combination three way ladder in a stairwell – is actually much safer than the ladder that you were intending to use. You always need to prioritise your personal safety when working at height, so don’t take any risks. 

When there is a significantly better model available

It could be the case that a more advanced or better model is now available for the job. For example, people who have to work near or with live electrical currents have previously used wooden ladders rather than metal ones, as wood models do not conduct electricity. However, wooden ladders come with a range of drawbacks. If you are you going to be working with electricity you can now use a fibreglass ladder instead. Like wood, fibreglass does not conduct electricity. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

How to safely use ladders on stairs

27 September 2017 08:31:04 GMT

Stairways can be one of the most challenging places to work at height. The size restrictions mean that ladders are usually the only form of access equipment that can be used, but standard ladders are not designed to be used on stairs which can make them unsafe and put you at risk of falling.

Nevertheless, if you need to carry out work at height there is usually no safe way to do so other than using a ladder. Stairways still need a huge range of tasks such as painting, wallpapering, changing lights and painting ceilings, all of which will require a ladder to work safely. That means that you are going to need to invest in the correct type of ladder.

The right ladder for the job

The ladder that you need in order to work on a stairway is a combination ladder. Specifically designed to be used in situations with uneven levels, these provide the perfect solution to allow you to work safely. You do not need to have years of experience – these ladders can be easily set up by anyone as long as the correct instructions are followed. And using a combination ladder is broadly the same as any other ladder.

If you need to carry out work on a stairway, do not try to find a different workaround. Simply invest in a high quality combination ladder to ensure that you are working at height in the safest way possible. 

Setting up a combination ladder

To safely set up a combination ladder on the stairs, use the following step-by-step guide:

  1. Consult the instructions from the manufacturer – different ladders may have specific procedures that need to be followed for correct assembly
  2. Enlist the help of someone else
  3. For most standard combination ladders, the first step is to remove the extension piece from the ladder and then stand it up with the stabilising bar at the top of the stairs
  4. Hinge the base and the mid-section of the ladder so that they are in the step ladder format. You can then add the extension piece upside down to the back of the mid-section
  5. Check the rung hooks are facing upwards and outwards
  6. Once the ladder is set up you can stand the extension piece on a step lower from the one that you are going to work on, then you can adjust the locking bars
  7. Ensure that you follow sensible health and safety precautions as you would when using any other ladder. For example, you should place the ladder’s feet as far away from edges as possible to ensure that they are always secure
  8. If you are working on your own you should tie the ladder to a bannister to make sure that it will not slip
Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Buying a scaffold tower can be expensive, but if this is the kind of access equipment that you need, you will want to get as good a price as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to buy a used scaffold tower. At Precipitous we offer a full range of high quality second hand towers – please get in contact with us if you are interested in buying one.

Here are some of the advantages of buying second hand:

A cost-effective price

Clearly one of the major advantages of buying a scaffold tower second hand is that it will be cheaper than buying new. Not only does this mean that you can get the tower you are looking for at a reduced cost, but it can also potentially make it affordable for you to buy a scaffold tower when you need it.

If the cost of the tower is prohibitive it can mean that users will opt instead to make use of a cheaper method of access such as a ladder. But when you need a scaffold tower, it’s important that you should invest in one. The lower price of second hand models can ensure that you are able to do this. 

Just as safe as a new tower

Some buyers worry that purchasing a second hand scaffold tower is not as safe as buying a brand new model. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Make sure that you only buy from an experienced and reputable dealer and you can be sure that your scaffold tower will be just as safe to use. At Precipitous, we make sure that every tower we sell has been inspected thoroughly and is in excellent condition. 

Get what you need

Another common concern for buyers is that buying a second hand tower means that you will need to compromise on what you are getting. But you can get the exact specification on the tower that you are looking for second hand. We offer a huge range of used scaffold towers so you can specify the working height, width and length you need to ensure you get a tower that is perfect for you.

Ideal both for short and long-term use

Buying a scaffold tower can be expensive, and if you only need it for a few jobs over a short period of time, the cost of buying a brand new model can be prohibitively high. This is where buying a second hand tower can be so beneficial. Far cheaper than buying a new tower, you can get the exact same functionality without having to waste any money.

Of course that doesn’t mean that second hand towers can’t be used over the long term either – our towers offer excellent longevity and durability. So whatever you need, these towers can be ideal for you. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

How to prevent ladder theft

13 September 2017 08:12:43 GMT

It is natural that thieves will look for easy ways to steal. Many people assume that it will never happen to them, but if you do not take the right precautions, you can find yourself at the mercy of criminals. Just as with any valuable piece of DIY or working equipment, there is always a risk that your ladder will be a target for those thieves.

Ladders, while not small, have two qualities that make them attractive to thieves: they are expensive and they are often lightweight. As ladders may not have any distinctive markings or any very obvious identifiable features it can also often be difficult to recover a ladder once it has been stolen. That means that you need to take appropriate steps to ensure that your ladder is always as secure as possible, and is never an easy target for criminals. 

Store your ladder

The first and most obvious way to prevent ladder theft is to ensure that you always take the time to lock away your ladder after each use. It is all too common for ladders used either for DIY work or professional use to simply be placed against a wall or left in plain view. This is really something that must be avoided – not only does it make your ladder completely available to anyone, it also puts it on display so that potential thieves would be able to see where it is.

So you need to find a space where you can store your ladder at any time it is not being used. This could be in a van, in a shed or somewhere else that can only be accessed with a key. 

Padlocks

Even when you do take the time to store your ladder away somewhere secure, you can’t be completely certain of its safety. A determined thief may well be able to gain access to a garage or storage area, in which case it is always best to additionally secure your ladder inside. A thief who has broken into somewhere will likely want to get out as soon as possible to ensure that they don’t get caught in the act.

Securing your ladder with a heavy duty padlock is a smart way to make things as difficult as possible for any potential thief.

Remember that the price of scrap metal is increasing all the time which makes something like a ladder an even more popular target for theft than ever before. Having your ladder stolen can be a huge inconvenience that will not only mean you will have to pay out for a new one, but also will lose you potential working hours.

It is definitely worth investing in security features and taking the time implement them properly so that you can avoid having to deal with the situation. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Keeping your scaffold tower in good condition can be simple, but many owners fail to follow the basic rules and end up causing damage and potentially making it unusable. Treating it correctly will not only extend its lifespan but also ensure that it is completely safe to use whenever you need it. Here are five steps to follow to avoid unnecessarily damaging your tower.

1 - Set it up correctly

The first thing to note is that one of the key moments for keeping your tower in good condition is when you set it up. Not only can you damage your tower in the process of erecting it, but additionally if it is not set up correctly, damage can occur later when it is being used. Not only is it dangerous for anyone who has to work on it, but it can ruin your tower as well.

Make sure that you always use the manufacturer’s instructions when you are setting up your tower, and that they work is carried out by someone with the necessary knowledge and experience to do so. 

2 - Treat it with respect

Remember at all times that your scaffold tower needs to be treated with respect by anyone who is using it. This is especially important when assembling and disassembling. It can be tempting after a long day’s work to disassemble the tower as quickly as possible without worrying about the condition of the parts. But doing so is a mistake and over time you will undoubtedly be causing unnecessary damage to it. Don’t just throw parts around – take the time to nearly pack things away. 

3 - Store it appropriately

On the same note, one area that owners often unnecessarily shorten the lifespan of their tower is when they do not store it correctly. You need to ensure that your tower is stored in a clean, dry and covered area. If a tower is allowed to get dirty or wet it will eventually damage the material, with the potential for the metal to rust.  

4 - Only use it as intended

Once again it is vital to make the point that you should never attempt to use you scaffold tower in a way that it was not intended for. This goes back to following the manufacturer’s instructions – you should never attempt to construct the tower any higher than is recommended and if you don’t have the instructions you shouldn’t try to set up the tower until you have found them. 

5 - Ensure any users are fully qualified

It is also very important to make sure that anyone who is going to be using the scaffold tower is fully qualified to do so. This not only applies to those setting up the tower, but anyone who is going to be on it needs to be aware of how to use the tower properly. Using it carelessly or incorrectly can lead to bad practice and damage being caused. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

You need to think of your safety every time you carry out any work at height – the risk of falling and injuring yourself means that it needs to be a top priority. Yes, you need to follow all of the sensible safety precautions but you are also highly dependent on the safety equipment that you wear and use.

When you are working at height professionally, the right safety equipment to use should be determined by a risk assessment. But if you’re just carrying out some DIY tasks that require working off the ground then you may need to consider what kind of personal protective equipment (PPE) you need to be wearing as well as any other safety equipment that may be necessary.

Let’s take a look at the kind of safety gear and equipment you should be using when you are required to work at height.

Collective protection measures

If you’re going to be working on access equipment such as a scaffold tower, you need to make sure that it has been correctly set up and features collective protection measures such as guard rails. This is the most important kind of safety gear – those that are built into the access equipment act as a natural defence against falling.

Head protection

Regardless whether you’re on a scaffold tower or a ladder, it’s important to wear the correct PPE. This starts with head protection. A hardhat is vital, especially if there are people working with you at height. When they are above you, a piece of equipment could be dropped which could severely injure you. It may not be necessary to wear a helmet if you’re simply carrying out DIY.

Sensible footwear

While not necessarily a piece of PPE, your footwear needs to be sensible. You need to wear shoes that are both comfortable and hard-wearing; if you’re going to be standing on a ladder you need to feel as secure as possible. That means your footwear should be sturdy and have plenty of grip – certainly no sandals or open-toe shoes.

Eye protection

Depending on the work that you are going to be carrying out, it may be necessary for you to wear goggles or another form of eye protection. Any time there is a risk of dust or debris getting into your eyes, you need to be wearing some form of protection. Blurry sight or irritated eyes at height are really not something you want.

Appropriate gloves

Remember to wear appropriate gloves. If you’re working out in cold conditions these will be essential and they may also be necessary if you’re using hand tools. However, be aware that while thick and heavy gloves can provide protection, they can also mean you will lose dexterity. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Top tips for scaffold tower storage

17 August 2017 08:26:52 GMT

When it comes to scaffold tower safety, most people think it only applies when the tower is setup and being used. But it’s important to remember that a big part of safe use comes in storing and unpacking a tower. You need to take your scaffold tower storage seriously. Of course the best way for you to do this is to check the advice found in the instructions from the manufacturer, but in general you can follow the rules below to ensure your tower will stay in optimal condition.

Scaffold Tower

Where to store

Many people have a rule for where they store their scaffold tower: wherever there is the space for it. But choosing the right place for storage with a suitable environment is extremely important for its longevity – a tower is more likely to stay in good condition for longer if it has been stored correctly. The best possible area for tower storage will be covered and protected from the weather but also well ventilated. It should not be too hot or damp to ensure that the materials of the tower are not weakened or rusted by the conditions.  

Think safety first

It is also vital that you should think of safety first at all times when you come to store your tower. First, it should be pointed out that the tower should be completely disassembled so that it is easy to handle the next time you come to set it up. Additionally it’s worth pointing out that it’s a good idea to store all the parts of your tower at ground level or within a container so that there is no risk of any part the tower falling if it is stored at height.

Store them as you would like to find them

A good rule to follow when it comes to storing your tower is to pack away and store it in the manner that you would like to find it. Make sure that the parts are clean and dry before you pay them away, and that all of the parts are kept together in a neat and tidy fashion. There is nothing more frustrating than coming to set up a scaffold tower only to find that you have to spend hours sorting out the parts.

Make sure the instructions are stored safely

Finally, you must remember that one of the most important features of the scaffold tower to keep safe is the instructions. Without the manufacturer’s instructions, you won’t be able to set up the tower in accordance with health and safety regulations. That means you need to either have a safe place to store the instructions with the tower itself or you must create some sort of filling system that allows you to easily find the manual for this specific scaffold tower.

If you have any further question about scaffold towers, the team at Precipitous have years of experience in supplying a huge range of different models. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have on them. Please get in contact today for more information.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

How to trim hedges safely

10 August 2017 08:22:34 GMT

Hedges don’t typically need an awful lot of maintenance, but if they are left for too long without any pruning they can begin to look out of control and scruffy. If you’ve got a hedge that is starting to get a little unkempt it could be time to put in a bit of work. But trimming hedges can involve elements of risk including the use of power tools and working at height, so it’s vital that you make safety a priority. Here is how to stay safe while you trim your hedges.

Trimming hedges safely and using the right safety equipment

Use the right tools

The first step is to ensure that you have the right tools for the job. This will depend on the type of hedge and the overall size of the job. If you’ve got a fairly small hedge or you’re just doing a bit of gentle pruning, it’s probably best to work by hand with a pair of high quality shears. Ideally you should choose shears with adjustable blade tension as well as cushioned handles.

If you’re working with a larger hedge or you really need to work trimming back a very overgrown shrub, you will likely need to use an electric hedge trimmer. You can choose a trimmer that plugs into the mains – this is good if the job is close enough to a power socket, which is fine in most small or medium-sized gardens. Alternatively, if you prefer working without a clumsy cord or need to move a long way away from a power source, cordless hedge trimmers are available.

Get your technique right

When you’re working with any kind of cutting device, such as a trimmer or shears, there are always going to be risks. That means you need to get your technique right to ensure there is no risk of you injuring yourself. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using your trimmer. Not only will this mean that you will get the job done quicker, it will also ensure that you are protected from the sharp edges of the device.

Working at height

When you need to trim very tall hedges, you may need to work at height. This can be the point that you are exposed to the most risk. Many people use whichever ladder they have to hand and might use dangerous practices such as leaning the ladder against a hedge. It’s a much better idea to invest in some access equipment that is actually suitable such as a step ladder with a platform.

Wear the right clothes

Finally, it might seem like a trivial point but if you are going to carry out this sort of work, you need to be wearing the right clothes. If you’re going to be working on a step ladder you need sensible footwear with plenty of grip. It’s also a good idea to wear eye and ear protection if you’re using a loud, electric trimmer. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Best types of ladder for DIY

3 August 2017 08:15:06 GMT

If you are planning on carrying out DIY tasks around the house, you’re going to need a good quality ladder. But with such a huge range of different types of ladder available, which one is right for you? Here we examine the most popular types of ladder for DIY tasks. 

Extension ladder

Extension Ladder

Extension ladders are some of the most commonly used for DIY. Consisting of either two or three parts, extension ladders can be slid apart and locked in place, allowing you to reach up to a variety of different heights. Usually starting at 2.5m, some of the larger models can extend in excess of 10m meaning there is almost no task around the house that they can’t be used to perform.

These are highly convenient ladders as they can be stored at their closed height but used to reach up to a much higher point. Many people have this sort of ladder for their DIY work, but there are actually a number of different types of ladder that could be more useful. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Platform step ladder

The major advantage of the platform step ladder is that it gives you a stable platform that you can work from. This makes it ideal for tasks like painting or hanging wallpaper. This means that they are one of the most comfortable ladders for DIY, and even offer higher levels of safety if you choose a model with a handrail.

Combination 3 way ladder

Combination Ladder

Combination 3 way ladders are probably the most versatile and multifunctional type of ladder available. In one product you have a functional extension ladder, step ladder and stair ladder that can be set up whichever way is most useful to the task at hand. If you are planning lots of DIY work to your property but only have the space to store one type of ladder, this could be the perfect one for you as it can fulfil the functions of multiple ladders.

There are multiple forms of combination 3 way ladders available including fibreglass models that are designed to be safe to use around live electricity. You could also choose a light model if you are going to be moving the ladder around a significant amount.

Roof ladder

If you know that you are going to be getting a lot of DIY work done on a pitched roof, buying a roof ladder is essential. On one side of the ladder there are wheels, which allow you to slide the ladder along the roof without damaging the slates or tiles. On the other side are hooks that fit over the top of the roof.

You simply slide the wheeled side of the ladder along the roof, then turn it over to hook it in place. This makes it easy to carry out simple tasks on your roof.  

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

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