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The benefits of fibreglass stepladders

24 July 2017 08:39:57 GMT

When most people need to buy a stepladder they will look at options like aluminium and wood. But it’s worth knowing that you could also choose fibreglass. Fibreglass is a strong material that is becoming more popular both in trades and at home. But why should you choose a fibreglass stepladder over a traditional material? Here are the advantages of choosing fibreglass.

They don’t conduct electricity

The major advantage for fibreglass stepladders over their metal counterparts is that they do not conduct electricity. This means that you can safely use your stepladder while carrying out any kind of electrical work. Other materials have similar non-conductive properties, such as wood, but fibreglass holds a number of advantages over wood.

They are heat resistant

Unlike both wood and steel stepladders, fibreglass is a material that is highly resistant to heat and flames. This means that in hazardous conditions it can be far better to have a fibreglass model available to you over any other option.

They are strong

Fibreglass is a very strong and durable man-made material – far stronger than natural materials that are often used for stepladders, such as wood. This means that every time you step onto the fibreglass stepladder you can have complete confidence in their strength. It’s worth remembering that while aluminium ladders are also very strong, there are different grades of the metal, so choosing a cheap aluminium stepladder could mean that it is made of a relatively weak material.

They can endure bad weather conditions 

Fibreglass is not adversely affected by poor weather. It doesn’t have issues with rust or corrosion. This means that if you are going to be using your stepladder outside, it could be best to invest in a fibreglass model.

There are no issues with weight

One of the disadvantages of fibreglass ladders compared to aluminium models is that they weigh a lot more. This means that they can be relatively inconvenient as they are harder to move around – this puts some people off buying fibreglass ladders. However, with stepladders this is much less of a concern as they are smaller and the additional weight does not make them significantly more difficult to move around.

If you are interested in buying a fibreglass stepladder or you would like to get more information on the range of models available, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us here at Precipitous today. Our team comprises experts in all forms of access equipment and we would be happy to answer any questions that you might have.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Garden safety for working at height

17 July 2017 08:36:19 GMT

Sometimes it’s necessary to work at height in order to keep your garden in good shape. But whether you’re a DIY enthusiast with a range of ladders for different tasks, or you’ve never had to think about working at height before, it is important that you take care. Anyone can be at risk of an accident when they work at height if they don’t prioritise safety.

When do you need to work at height in the garden?

There are plenty of tasks in the garden that could require you to work at height. The most common occurrence is when you need to get access in order to trim hedges or trees, but there are a range of other reasons too. This could include maintenance work on a greenhouse, shed or conservatory, or carrying out DIY work on the outside of the house.

No matter what kind of task you’re working on, you need to take safety seriously. While you might feel comfortable and safe in your own garden, any time you have to work at height it is vital you take the correct safety precautions.

Ladder safety checks

Most work at height in the garden involves using some sort of ladder, so it’s very important you understand ladder safety and carry out checks before you use them. Firstly, make sure that you examine the ladder carefully to ensure it is clean, undamaged and in good general condition. A ladder in poor condition could be at risk of buckling, sliding or falling when you use it.

Then follow the correct procedures for setting up the ladder, including only ever working on a flat and level surface. Also remember that you should never use a ladder that isn’t suitable for the job at hand. If the ladder is too short, or doesn’t allow you to work comfortably you need to use a different form of access equipment.

Using tools

Working at height while using tools adds another range of safety hazards. You need to be sure that you can safely carry the tool up and down the ladder and that any cables that you use are designed for outdoor use. Also ensure that the equipment has a cut-off so that if stops immediately if you have an accident.

It should also be obvious, but remember never to use electric power tools or a strimmer in wet weather.

The right equipment

You also need to make sure that you are always using the correct equipment. This starts with what you wear while you work at height – choose sensible closed-toe footwear as an essential. It is also worth considering other personal protective equipment such as gloves as well as eye and ear protection.

Additionally, you need to use the right sort of ladder for the work you’re carrying out. You must be able to use the ladder safely and in the way that the manufacturer recommends in order to carry out the work without risk. If you can’t do this then you should look into purchasing another ladder. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Whether you’re just carrying out a bit of DIY or you’re using it professionally, a ladder can be a vital piece of equipment for a huge range of maintenance and construction tasks. When there is a task that we need to carry out, many of us instinctively reach for the ladder and get to work as quickly as possible. But it is essential that you should thoroughly check over your ladder each time you use it. Just like any piece of DIY equipment, a ladder will deteriorate with time. And unfortunately a ladder is at most risk of buckling or falling when it is supporting someone’s weight.

No matter how small the job is, you should give your ladder the once-over each time. Here are the six things that you need to check on your ladder before you use it.

1 - The stiles

The first part of the ladder you need to check are the stiles. Running down the side of the ladder, the stiles are arguably the most fundamental part of the equipment. If they are bent or split in any way then you should not use the ladder as it could be at risk of collapsing.

2 - The feet

Make sure that you check the feet of the ladder not only to see whether they are worn or damaged, but also because they could be wet or dirty. This could cause the ladder to slide out from under you while you are using it. Also, make sure that the feet are still present. Modern ladders have rubber stoppers and you should not attempt to use a ladder without them.

3 - The rungs

Check each rung individually, even if you don’t think that you will have to use them. And also never use a ladder that has rungs that are missing or loose. You might think that it is fine to just avoid specific rungs, but you’re simply putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

4 - The locking bars

If your ladder has locking bars then you need to check them over thoroughly to be sure that they work correctly and are not bent or damaged. If the locking bars go, the whole ladder will collapse.

5 - The treads

Make sure you also check over the treads to ensure that they are not slippery or damaged. Once again, if you notice a problem, don’t take the risk. Rather than working on an unsafe ladder, replace the part or get a new one.

6 - The platforms

If you’re using a ladder that has a platform, make sure that this is still strong and will support weight. The last thing you want is for the platform to go while you are standing on it, so check it over thoroughly beforehand. 

If you discover any problems with your ladder you shouldn’t hesitate to replace it. Please contact us at Precipitous and we would be happy to offer advice and guidance on the right ladder for the work you want to carry out. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

When NOT to use a scaffold tower

3 July 2017 08:25:08 GMT

When it comes to working at height, you need to prioritise safety. Using the incorrect equipment for the job not only endangers those working and puts them at a risk of injury, but it can also be hazardous for people on the ground below them. That’s why it is often recommended that those working at height should use a scaffold tower, which is one of the safest forms of access equipment. But it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that you should use a tower in every scenario. Let’s have a look at some of the times when you should not use a scaffold tower.

In poor weather conditions

You should not attempt to work at height in bad weather – and this certainly applies to scaffold towers too. Working on a tower in wind and rain can be very dangerous. In fact, it is recommended that any time winds reach speeds of more than 17mph you should stop work immediately. And if it is forecast to reach more than 40mph, the scaffold tower needs to be disassembled completely.

When it is safer to use alternative access equipment

Using a scaffold tower is often seen as the safest form of access. And while this is often true, it is not always the case. Firstly, it should be noted that you should never use a scaffold tower if it is not appropriate for the situation. For example, if you have to set up the tower incorrectly or use it in a way that is not recommended by the manufacturer, it can be very dangerous.

In some cases it may be more appropriate to use equipment such as a ladder, especially if the job is short and low risk.

When your tower is not high enough

It was previously mentioned that you should not use a scaffold tower in a way that is not recommended by the manufacturer’s instructions. However, it is also worth individually noting that if you can’t reach high enough to carry out the work, under no circumstances should you modify the tower so that you can reach higher. Using a tower in this way can cause it to be completely unsafe and put it at risk of toppling over.

If your tower is not high enough then you need to look into purchasing a taller tower or a different form of access equipment that will allow you to carry out the work without putting yourself or others in danger.

Around powerlines

This one might seem obvious, but you need to remember never use a metal scaffold tower near electrical hazards such as powerlines. As the tower conducts electricity, anyone working on the scaffold tower would be put at risk of serious electric shocks. You could look into purchasing a fibreglass scaffold tower instead, as these don’t conduct electricity and can be used safely around powerlines. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

If you have a DIY task that requires a ladder, it’s important to take the proper safety precautions. Even tasks that seem quick and easy can put you in a dangerous position if you aren’t using your ladder correctly. Here are four common mistakes that people make when using a ladder.

Working with old equipment

For many people, working at height is something that is a very occasional DIY task. It could be when you need to paint the house or clean the gutters, and it’s likely that you’ll have an old ladder stored somewhere that you get out when it’s needed. Unfortunately it’s commonplace for people to actually wear down their ladder – partly due to general use but also because it is not being stored in ideal conditions.

This can then lead to a problem that you’ll get out the ladder one day and it will be no longer suitable for use. So if you have one ladder that you use occasionally and that you have had for a long time you need to make sure that you thoroughly check over the ladder each time. Working at height can be very dangerous if your ladder is damaged or worn out. 

Not using the right ladder for the job

Remember that checking to make sure the ladder is not worn down is not the only thing that you need to consider. If you’ve just got the one ladder available it might be natural that you would use it for any kind of work at height that you need to carry out. But this can lead to the issue where you are using the wrong kind of ladder for the job.

It is always vital to use the correct ladder to stay safe. There are many different options available, including fibreglass ladders – perfect if you’re going to work near live electrical currents. Also be aware of the height that you need to reach. You should never be in a position where you need to have your feet on the top three rungs of the ladder. In this situation you should always opt for a taller ladder instead.

Working alone

Whenever you work at height you should have someone with you. This even goes for those tasks that you could easily do yourself. Working on a ladder comes with the natural risk that you could fall. Not only is this risk greater if you don’t have someone working with you, but it also means that there will no-one to raise the alarm if you get injured.

Always make sure that someone is available to supervise you as you work, even if they aren’t doing any work themselves, they can keep you safe.

Setting up the ladder incorrectly

You need to make sure that the ladder is set up correctly. Firstly, no matter what kind of ladder you’re working with, both feet need to be set on a stable surface at ground level. It also needs to be placed against a surface that it cannot slide down. Always opt to lean it against a flat surface rather than something jutting out, such as a window frame. You should follow the manufacturers’ guidelines for the setting up of your specific ladder. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Three options when buying a scaffold tower

15 June 2017 08:30:05 GMT

If you ever need to carry out work at height – either professionally or at home – it can be a brilliant idea to invest in a scaffold tower. Scaffold towers offer a range of additional features which often makes them superior to ladders in terms of effectiveness and safety. It’s no surprise then, that they are becoming more and more popular across the UK.

There are three different ways that you can get your hands on a scaffold tower, all with different advantages and disadvantages. However, it’s also true that there are a number of elements that are common to all of these options. Firstly, you should always buy through an established and trusted dealer. It might be tempting to save money but you could be buying a flawed or worn-out tower that isn’t safe to be used. Secondly, make sure that the tower is truly fit for purpose. Yes, a scaffold tower can be enormously valuable but if it’s not the right piece of kit for the job, using it can be potentially dangerous.

Finally, never opt for a scaffold tower purely on the basis of price. Getting a tower cheaply that’s wrong for the job or is not up to the correct safety standards is simply a false economy. You’ll either end up having to buy a replacement or someone will get hurt. If you make the right choices, you’ll get a scaffold tower that is perfect for your needs. So, here are the three different options you have if you’re looking to buy a scaffold tower.

Option 1: Buy new

The first and most obvious option is to find a high quality scaffold tower supplier and buy a tower brand new. Naturally this comes with the advantage that you are getting a high quality product that is perfect for your requirements. This gives you the chance to choose from a wide range of possibilities including fibreglass towers and extra tall towers. Just as with any other product, buying a new scaffold tower is typically the most expensive option. So if you are working to a strict budget then it may be a better idea for you to go with option 2 or 3.

Option 2: Buy second-hand

Buying a second hand scaffold tower can be a great way to pick up the equipment you need at a lower price. When you buy from an experienced and trusted dealer, you know that you’ll be getting an excellent product that has been thoroughly inspected to ensure it is completely safe and in good condition. Just make sure that you are buying the correct product for your needs. It can sometimes be tempting to up for a cheaper product that isn’t quite right for you – but when you use a scaffold tower that isn’t fit for requirements, you are putting yourself in danger.

Option 3: Hire

Finally, you should consider the third option – not buying at all. It’s possible to hire scaffold towers from many suppliers. This option may be best if you only need the tower for one job or you are unlikely to re-use it in the future.

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Scaffold towers are one of the most popular forms of access equipment and have a broad variety of uses, both domestically and professionally. But whether you’re buying to carrying out construction work or you’ve got a home project that requires a tower, you should only ever purchase from a trusted supplier. Sometimes it can seem like a good idea to go for a cheaper option but any money that you save buying anywhere other than a reputable dealer is simply a false economy. Here is why you need to buy your tower from a high quality supplier.

Never compromise on safety

Ultimately, you are using a scaffold tower because you want to provide the safest possible environment for work at height. Scaffold towers are a very safe form of access equipment as they provide a stable platform and railings to limit the risk of falling. But scaffold towers are only safe if they are supplied to you in great condition.

If a scaffold tower is being sold at a much lower price than those offered by experienced suppliers, there is probably a reason that it is so cheap. One of those reasons could be that it is not up to the correct safety standards. You should never compromise you safety for a lower price.

Choose from a range of options

There is a wide variety of scaffold towers available, each with a different properties. For example, it may be the case that you would benefit from a fibreglass scaffold tower which will not conduct electricity. You might also need a specific height or size of tower to be able to carry out the task properly.

Get the right scaffold tower for the job

It might be the case that someone is offering a scaffold tower to you at a lower price because they no longer need it. Of course this is fine and doesn’t necessarily mean that the tower is in poor condition. However, it also means that you are limited to that single scaffold tower that they have available. The tower that you are buying might not be the right one for the task that you are trying to undertake. Once again this could compromise your safety if you’re using a tower that isn’t fit for purpose.

A professional scaffold tower supplier will allow you to choose the perfect tower for the job at hand, rather than just letting you make do with what is available.

The option to buy second hand

We have touched on the issue of second hand scaffold towers but it is worth pointing out that many reputable suppliers offer a range of high quality used towers that could be perfect for your requirements. Buying from a reputable dealer ensures that the tower will have been thoroughly checked and is in excellent condition. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

Working at height is something that many people need to do, whether professionally or just carrying out work at home. Of course when you work at height you are putting yourself in a dangerous position – this is something often not taken as seriously as it should be. Here are five questions that you need to answer before you carry out any work at height.

Is there are a safer way to carry out the work?

The first and most important question that you need to answer is whether there is a safer way to carry out the work. Working at height comes with inherent risks due to the danger of injuries from falling. If there is a way that the work can be accomplished rather than having someone carry out the task at height, it will undoubtedly be a safer option.

As a basic example, many people believe that cleaning windows requires climbing a ladder and carrying out the work there. But in many cases it is just as easy to clean the window from inside the building, therefore requiring no-one to but themselves at height.

Have you been properly trained for the tasks you are being asked to perform?

Another issue that regularly affects employees is that they are asked to do a job that they don’t feel trained for. Working at height puts you in a very precarious position, so you need to feel absolutely sure that you have been adequately trained for anything you are asked to do.

Do you have the right equipment for the job?

Choosing the right equipment can make the difference between work that is completely safe and work that puts you at serious risk. Too many people simply reach for the first ladder they can find when they are asked to carry out a task at height, but this never a good idea.

There are many different types of ladders that are suitable for different tasks. Equally, it may even be sensible for you to use a scaffold tower if it would be more appropriate. Talk through the different options with someone experienced in working at height.

Is the weather suitable for work at height?

You need to consider the weather. Strong winds and inclement conditions can turn a perfectly safe task into an extremely dangerous one. Check forecasts and use common sense to determine if it is safe for you to work at height.

Is your equipment in good working order?

Make sure that you thoroughly check each piece of equipment to ensure that it is in good working order before you use it. Equipment can deteriorate over time especially if it is not maintained properly, so carry out your checks and don’t use anything that you wouldn’t feel confident on. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

When should you use a scaffold tower?

25 May 2017 08:36:48 GMT

If you’re going to carry out any work at height then you are going to need some form of access equipment. For most people, that means immediately getting their ladder out of storage. But while ladders can be extremely useful, it’s also the case that you could be overlooking other, more practical options.

Sometimes it can be a better idea to consider using a high quality scaffold tower for the work that you are carrying out. Let’s have a look at some of the different occasions when it’s best to use a scaffold tower, and when it’s just as practical to use a ladder.

When a ladder is best

Ladders are popular for a huge number of reasons. Whether for a professional tradesperson carrying out a number or tasks or just an individual doing a bit of DIY around the house, a ladder is a convenient, versatile and user friendly piece of access equipment. Durable but lightweight, they are easy to move and store, and you don’t need to have any special training or knowledge in order to work with them.

Additionally, ladders are available in an enormous variety of styles, designs and materials, so you can easily pick the perfect one for the job. Whether you’re looking for an aluminium ladder or a fibreglass model that doesn’t conduct electricity, you can pick them up cheaply.

However, many people choose to use ladders simply because they are familiar with them, rather than because they are right tool for the job. Ladders have limitations and in some scenarios in can be better to look for alternative options in times of your access equipment. This is where the scaffold tower comes in.

When to use a scaffold tower

Scaffold towers are perfect for longer or larger-scale jobs than those that can be carried out on ladders. One of the principle advantages is that you can have both hands free, making them perfect for tasks like bricklaying or painting. As you’ll be standing on a platform, you’ll have a solid surface for better balance and comfort too. This is why scaffold towers are often preferred by tradespeople and professionals.

While these advantages are clear it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that they are better for every job. Scaffold towers generally take longer to set up and take down than ladders. If you are interested in learning more about scaffold towers, or would like to talk to experts about which kind of access equipment might be right for you, please get in contact with Precipitous today. A member of our team would be happy to go over your needs and requirements. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

If you’ve ever heard of a telescopic ladder, you’ll probably understand the concept of a telescopic scaffold tower. These towers fold down to be able to fit into the boot of an estate car but fold up to an incredible height of 2m. The Teletower is the world’s first telescopic scaffold tower – providing access up to a working height of 4m. Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of buying a telescopic scaffold tower and see if it might be the perfect piece of equipment for you.

Choose the right height for the job

One of the best features of telescopic scaffold towers is their flexibility. They can be assembled to a variety of different heights very quickly and easily. That means you only need this one piece of equipment to carry out a variety of jobs. This is much easier than having to get out several different ladders. It also means that you don’t have the expense of buying other pieces of equipment. So a telescopic scaffold tower will not only save you time, but money as well!

Convenient

Despite the fact that a telescopic tower gives you up to 4m in working height, it is easy to store. This is because the tower folds down within itself. When fully compressed the tower will fit inside the boot of an estate car. It is made from durable aluminium, which means it is both strong and lightweight for complete convenience.

Quick to assemble

Telescopic towers can be erected very quickly compared with standard scaffold towers. You should be able to have the tower fully assembled in just three minutes. That means that you can get on with work quickly. Of course, disassembling is just as fast so if you need to move onto another task you can do this very quickly.

Can be used by one person

One of the major advantages of telescopic scaffold towers it that they can be used by just one person. As we have already discussed, they can be easy moved around as they can be packed down, so there is no need to have several people in order to carry out work. That means that you can get on with a task immediately.

Range of safety features

As with any equipment designed for work at height, it’s important that it is completely safe. Thankfully these towers have a range of safety features to keep their user secure. With guardrails and stabilisers minimising the risk of fall injuries. 

Posted in Buyers Guides By Tom B

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