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You should only ever carry out work at height if you feel completely safe and in control of what you are doing. Sometimes in their haste to get a task done, people will disregard important safety precautions, but this can put you in a risky situation for no reason. Before you do any work at height you should ask yourself these safety questions.

Are you working at height unnecessarily?

Firstly, you need to establish whether you are working at height when actually there is no reason to do so. Clearly, given inherent risks of working off the ground, it is better to avoid it entirely if at all possible, and you may be surprised to find that there are ways to carry out the work without having to reach for a ladder or scaffold tower.

For example if you are getting work done around the house and need to clean the windows you might think nothing of climbing a ladder to reach the top floor when it would be safer to use an extending window cleaning brush allowing you to work from the ground. Alternatively you may find that you are able to carry out tasks from a high level without using access equipment, for example accessing the area through a window on a higher floor.

Are you using the right equipment?

Working at height

If you have decided that you need to work at height to get the job done, then it is essential that you ensure you are making use of the right equipment. Having a ladder to hand is certainly convenient, but if it is not suitable for the job you want to carry out, you can actually be putting yourself at risk.

Whether you are attempting to use a ladder that isn’t tall enough for the task or if there is a specific piece of equipment that would allow you to carry out the task more safely, do think about the equipment you are using before you get started on a task. It may even be the case that it would be sensible to use a scaffold tower.

Are you working alone?

Working at height is naturally dangerous but it can be even more so if you work alone. If you are attempting to carry out tasks by yourself you should first make sure that someone knows where you are and what you are doing so that they can come and check you are still alright every so often. Falling from a height and injuring yourself can be even riskier if no-one is around to summon aid if you need it.

Are you wearing the right gear for the job? 

You should always make sure that you are wearing the right clothing and safety gear for the task. Sensible footwear is a must for any work at height but you may also need safety glasses and ear defenders depending on the type of work you are carrying out.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Four tasks for a step ladder

9 April 2018 09:55:17 GMT

Step LadderStep ladders are one of the most versatile forms of ladder, with uses everywhere from small DIY tasks at home to commercial building sites. No home should be without a step ladder as they can make it easier to carry out a large range of tasks that would otherwise be more difficult or even dangerous to attempt. Here are four tasks that you will need a step ladder for.

1 - Changing a light bulb

How often when you change a light bulb do you simply stand on the nearest piece of furniture to hand? Changing a bulb is one of the most basic DIY tasks, but that doesn’t mean that you can disregard safety precautions. Standing on a chair might be convenient, but it can put you at risk of falling and injuring yourself.

It’s a much better idea to take the time to get out your step ladder so that it gives you the correct level of support and stability while you work off the ground. So the next time your bulb needs changing go and get your step ladder so you can make sure you are completely safe.

2 - Interior painting

A step-ladder generally gives you enough clearance off the floor to paint the inside of your home easily. Unless you have very high ceilings it should be possible to do all of the walls and the ceilings using a step ladder. With a platform step ladder you even have a convenient place to hold all of the brushes, paint and other materials you need

3 - Clearing gutters

A step ladder gives you good vertical height on a solid base, meaning that it can be easily used to carry out a range of stationary tasks such as gutter clearing on one storey properties such as bungalows. Often there is no need to use a full-sized ladder to get a task done and you can use a step ladder that you have close to hand.

4 - Gardening

There are multiple forms of gardening that you can do much more easily with a step ladder. For example, if you need to prune bushes or trees it can be useful to get off the ground on a secure platform. This is essential if you are going to be using electric tools which are naturally riskier. A step ladder can be hugely valuable in the garden, so don’t discount it if you are getting ready for spring.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Ladders and scaffold towers are two important pieces of access equipment that can be used both in domestic and professional circumstances for a huge variety of different jobs. Many people, however, have never considered using a scaffold tower and will opt for a ladder no matter what kind of task they are carrying out.

This can be a mistake as in many cases it is safer to use a scaffold tower for a job than it is to try to do it from a ladder. At Precipitous we supply both ladders and scaffold towers so we can provide you with unbiased advice as to when it is best to one or the other. Here we look at when you should consider using a tower for access to a job.

Prioritise safety

Clearly the most important thing when you are carrying out work at height is that you need to stay safe. This means that it is the right time to use a scaffold tower if doing so is a safer option that using a ladder. For example it might be the case that you are carrying out a task that requires two hands and complex work, or perhaps you need a range of tools with you to get it done. Working from a ladder in either of these scenarios can be dangerous and it could be better to work from a tower.

Of course, it is not always the case that a tower is required for safety. In many cases it is fine to use ladder. Typically ladders are cheaper, faster to set up and more easily stored, so there are certainly advantages in using a ladder. But try to make sure that you are using them for the right reasons – that they are the best tool for the job.

Ladders are not necessarily suitable for heavier tasks or longer term work, where it can be very uncomfortable to stand on a ladder for significant periods of time.

When should you use a scaffold tower?

It is important to understand that you should think through each job you are going to carry out and make a decision as to whether it would be safer to use a scaffold tower. If it is easier for you to use a scaffold tower they are more affordable and accessible than ever before – it is even possible to hire out towers if you are only going to use them for a short project.

Of course, it is also the case that one some occasions there might be a safer way to complete the work without having to use access equipment at all. For example, if you are cleaning windows on a high floor you may be able to do it from inside the building and reaching out.

Please feel free to get in touch with the team at Precipitous if you would like more information on scaffold towers and what they can do for you.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Which ladder is the safest?

15 March 2018 12:01:59 GMT

Of course, any time that you need to carry out any work at height there is going to be an element of risk. It makes complete sense, then, that you would want to use a ladder that will keep you as safe as possible.

At Precipitous we are often asked which ladder is the safest to use, and this can be a difficult question to answer. Typically the truth is that many ladders can be safe, it just depends whether they are being used correctly. Here we look at the safety features of ladders and how to choose the safest for you.

The right ladder for the job

There is no answer to the question ‘which is the safest ladder’, because it depends entirely on what you are using the ladder for. It is easier first to explain that some ladders that are very safe and secure for certain tasks, are completely inappropriate for others. That why it is essential that you shouldn’t simply buy one ladder and assume that it will always be safe.

For example, a high quality domestic use ladder that meets all the British standards and in is excellent condition would nevertheless be unsafe to use if it is not high enough for the task you are undertaking. It may also be the case that you need to think about the area surrounding the work, for example, if you are working near live electrical currents, it may only be safe to use a fibreglass ladder as they do not conduct electricity.

Conforms to safety standards

Check that any ladder that you are buying conforms to the correct safety regulations – look for standards such as BS1129 or EN131. These are classifications that indicate that a ladder is safe for the working load it is designed to support. These are the regulations overseen by the British authorities and they indicate that the ladder is safe for the job.

All of the ladders we sell at Precipitous are built to the highest standards and conform to their relevant safety regulations so you can buy through us with complete confidence. We would also be happy to answer any questions you have about the safety standards.

A ladder in good condition

It is also the case that a ladder that would appear to be perfectly safe for the job could actually be unsuitable if it is not in good condition. It is vital that you should check your ladder thoroughly before use to ensure that there are no serious problems. Any wear or damage to the ladder could cause it to collapse while you work.

To avoid wear make sure that you look after your ladder – store it correctly and keep in clean. If you have a ladder that is no longer in usable condition you should replace it as soon as possible. Speak to the ladder and access equipment specialists at Precipitous for more details on the ladder that is best for you – our friendly team would be delighted to provide you with more information.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

5 tips for working at height safely

27 February 2018 10:56:25 GMT

No matter whether you are carrying out a quick DIY task or working on a construction site, working at height naturally puts you in a dangerous position. That means that you need to do everything you can to ensure that you are as safe as possible. Here are five tips that you should follow to ensure that you are working safely at height.

Use access equipment most suitable for the job

Unfortunately many people working at height fall (metaphorically) at the first hurdle when they fail to choose suitable access equipment. Too many individuals carrying out DIY or working professionally will opt for the access equipment that is closest to hand, rather than evaluating the situation and deciding whether it is the safest option available.

Yes, you might have an old wooden ladder that allows you to just reach up to your windows to clean them. But is this the safest option? Probably not. It might even be the case that a ladder isn’t really suitable for the task you are trying to carry out at all and that you should consider a scaffold tower or another safe alternative.

Wear sensible clothes

Next, it is vital that you should choose appropriate clothing and footwear when you work at height. Wearing sensible shoes might seem obvious, but if you just need to do something quick like changing an exterior light, you might not think to change out of the sandals you are wearing. But remember that accidents can happen no matter how small the job is.

Never work alone

Working at height is inherently dangerous. Any time that we work at height we are putting ourselves in a vulnerable position. This means that you need to ensure that you don’t carry out this kind of work on your own. Even if you are just doing a bit of DIY, it is important that you should have someone check on you every so often just to ensure that an accident hasn’t occurred.

If you work at height and then fall and injure yourself, there might be no-one around to help if you are carrying out the task entirely by yourself.

Check your equipment before you work

It is also essential that you should thoroughly check over all your equipment before you start working. Remember that equipment will degrade and weaken over time so it is important to check it every time you use it. For example, with a ladder, take the time to look at the different parts of the ladder to make sure it is still in good condition.

Parts of the ladder that are degrading might not be immediately obvious; sometimes the rungs are perfectly fine, but the rubber feet have worn down, which can lead to the ladder slipping around.

Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with

Finally, remember that if you are going to do something dangerous like working at height, you need to feel comfortable and confident. If you feel that you don’t have the necessary experience to carry out a task, there’s nothing wrong with getting someone else in to do it.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Four DIY tasks to get done before spring

13 February 2018 10:49:26 GMT

With the New Year, many of us like to get to work on the house with DIY tasks. Rejuvenating your property can be very rewarding and help it to look its best for the spring. But equally when the weather is cold and unpleasant it can be difficult to find motivation to get started. So here are four DIY tasks that will help improve the way your home looks without being too difficult to carry out.

Clear out some storage space

Christmas and the New Year can make us look around at our homes and think: there’s nowhere to store everything! This can lead us to try to store items in areas that aren’t for storage. It could be that you have a garage that is used as a dumping ground. If this is the case for you, it’s a great idea to take the time to have a thorough clear out of the things you never use anymore, and organising the stuff that you do.

Check your tools after winter

Remember that tools degrade with time and that winter can wreak havoc on them, especially with items like ladders that need to be in excellent condition to keep you safe as you use them. Take the time now to check through your older tools to see if they are still in good working condition. If any of your DIY tools need replacing now is the time to find out, rather than in the spring when you actually come to do the work and realise that you can’t.

Tidy up the garden

The winter is tough on your garden – fallen leaves and difficult weather can leave it looking for from its best. So before the glory of springtime rolls around, it’s worth taking the time to thoroughly clean up your garden. Rake away leaves and clear up space, and also begin to check over and prune the trees and shrubbery. Bad weather can cause broken branches that will never recover – it’s worth cutting them off and letting them grow back.

Repaint the interior

The New Year might seem like the perfect to get some repainting done around the house. But clearly the winter is less than ideal for a time to be painting outside; aside from the cold conditions you would have to work in, you’ll also face the challenges of inclement weather that could easily ruin your hard work.

If you are going to get some painting done, it’s a good idea to work on the interior of your house before spring, which can be the perfect time to get exterior painting done.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Why you need a new loft ladder

30 January 2018 13:13:44 GMT

Do you need to invest in a new loft ladder? Whether you have an old loft ladder that could do with replacing or you still use a standard extension ladder to get into your loft, there is a wide range of options available.

Much more convenient than a standard ladder

The majority of homes with lofts do not have a built-in ladder. That means that if you want to get into your loft you will need to use a standard ladder – as this will likely be stored outside or in a garage it can be highly inconvenient to have to go and retrieve it every time. It is much better to have a loft ladder that folds out from the loft.

Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that a loft ladder is specifically designed for this purpose whereas a standard ladder might not be ideal from a safety perspective.

Is your current ladder in good condition?

If you already have a conventional loft ladder it is worth remembering that it will need replacing after a few years of use. If you are honest, how often do you check the condition of your loft ladder? It is something that many of us take for granted in our house to use whenever we want without performing the kind of the checks that we might on other ladders. But loft ladders do wear down just like any other and if you have had your ladder for many years it may not be in the best shape anymore. Give it a thorough check over, and if it is no longer in good condition it might be time to get a replacement.

Aluminium or wood?

If you are choosing your new loft ladder you have to opt between either a wood or aluminium model. This mostly comes down to personal preference but there are strengths and weaknesses to be aware of. A wooden loft ladder has a more traditional look and is also warmer when climbing (remember that it is stored in a cold loft). An aluminium ladder is lightweight and typically cheaper.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Safety tips for cleaning your windows

9 January 2018 13:07:37 GMT

Often there is no need to pay for a window cleaning service if you can do the job yourself. But one thing that stops homeowners from cleaning their own windows is the fear of injuring themselves, so here are some safety tips to help you clean your windows easily.

Choose an appropriate ladder

One mistake that many people make when they come to clean their windows is simply choosing the first ladder to hand without thinking about whether it is appropriate for the task. Ultimately the ladder you use makes the biggest difference to your safety, so if you choose a worn old ladder or one that isn’t tall enough for the work, you could be putting yourself in danger.

You can easily and cheaply pick up a high quality extension ladder to allow you to carry out your window cleaning safely.

Place your ladder correctly

Of course just having the right ladder doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to be safe using it. The first thing to think about is where you are going to place your ladder. Ensure that it is away from power lines, and that it will stand on flat and solid ground without any obstructions. Always make sure that the feet of the ladder are very secure and won’t be able to slip or slide while you climb.

Use your ladder properly

When you are using the ladder itself you should make sure you follow basic safety precautions. This means that you should only ever stand on a safe rung on the ladder – this will vary by model so check with the instructions. Also, you should ensure that you are maintaining three points of contact with the ladder at all times.

Make sure you have clean hands

This might seem like an obvious point, but having clean hands is actually very important when you come to wash your windows. This is not only because you don’t want to ruin the cleaning job you have done by getting dirty finger-marks on them, but also because having dirty hands can make you more liable to slip and fall from the ladder as you work.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Uses for scaffold towers around the house

18 December 2017 13:56:15 GMT

You might assume that a scaffold tower is something that is only ever used by building professionals and on construction sites. But this is not necessarily the case – the are plenty of uses for a scaffold tower around the house whether you are carrying out a specific project on your home or just need it for some DIY. Scaffold towers are also more accessible than ever; they are affordable and can even be hired if you only need them for a short period of time. Here are some of the uses for scaffold towers around the house. 

DIY tasks

The most obvious use for a scaffold tower is to carry out any form of DIY. Whether you are getting painting done or working on the ceiling and require access, a scaffold tower can be easily setup to help you accomplish a task quickly and safely. Of course it should also be noted that one of the major benefits of using a scaffold tower instead of a ladder is that it provides you with a safer and more stable platform to work from. This is especially useful if you are working outside – any kind of DIY work on the exterior of the house will usually be safer on a scaffold tower. 

Decorating the house

Another time when a scaffold tower can come in handy is when you are putting up decorations. Whether it is for Christmas, Halloween or just a party that you are hosting, having a scaffold tower can make it much easier to put up your decorations, especially if it is a job that will require two free hands. 

Cleaning windows

Many people pay for a professional winding cleaning service because they would rather not have to put themselves at risk by getting up on a tall ladder to clean their high windows. This can be frustrating as this is a job that you could easily do yourself if you had the correct access equipment. Using a scaffold tower takes away much of the risk involved and makes the job far quicker than having to use a ladder. 

Pruning in the garden

A scaffold tower can be enormously useful for all kinds of work in the garden but especially if you are going to be pruning trees or bushes. Resting a ladder against a tree can be dangerous, especially if you are working with an electric pruner. Having a stable platform to work from is a much safer environment. 

Clearing the gutters

Once again, if you are going to work high on your home, you need to have as much stability as possible. A scaffold tower provides you with two free hands to work on the gutter. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Telescopic Ladders ImageAt Precipitous we are often asked about our range of telescopic ladders. These innovative products are growing in popularity and offer a range of advantages compared to standard ladders. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions we get about telescopic ladders.

What is a telescopic ladder?

A telescopic ladder works the same way as a telescope. The thinner upper sections of the ladder are designed to fit into the larger bottom sections so the ladder collapses into itself, making it easy to carry, store and move around – a telescopic ladder with a closed height of 0.78m can extend to an overall length of 3.3m. 

What types of telescopic ladder are available?

There is a very wide variety of telescopic ladders available. The standard telescopic ladder simply extends out and can be used a range of different heights depending on your needs.However, there are also telescopic multi-purpose ladders that can be used as a step ladder or for work on stairs.

If you are interested in learning about which telescopic ladder might be right for your needs, the team at Precipitous would be happy to provide you with more information

What can telescopic ladders be used for?

The construction of telescopic ladders mean that they are extremely versatile and can used for a whole range of both DIY and professional tasks. As mentioned above, there are different types of telescopic ladder that are used for specific situations – whether you are painting, cleaning windows or even working on the roof, a telescopic ladder can be ideal. They are especially useful if you have limited storage space but like to get a lot of work around the house. These ladders can be folded down to a very small size and stored almost anywhere. 

What are the benefits of telescopic ladders?

Telescopic ladders have a number of benefits over standard ladders. Firstly, they can be more conveniently stored and are far more compact than most ladders. Additionally, this makes them less likely to be damaged due to poor storage or left open to the elements. They are typically made from aluminium, which makes them extremely lightweight and easy to carry out between jobs.

All of the telescopic ladders we sell additionally conform to all of the relevant safety requirements, so you don’t need to worry that you are compromising on safety. 

How can I use a telescopic ladder safely?

Of course safety is an important factor when using your telescopic ladder, just as it with any type of ladder. It should first be noted that the telescopic ladders that we sell all conform to the European standard, EN131. Additionally there are a number of checks that you carry out before each use to ensure that your ladder is in good condition to use.

Firstly, check the stiles, feet and rungs of the ladder for any wear or damage. Next ensure that the ladder is correctly locked into place. And finally, ensure that the ladder is properly set up on a flat surface with the feet braced. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

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