062 HPM 0517

HPM May 2017

Stepping up safety issues When working at heights it’s crucial that you’re using the safest equipment possible and that is why there are European standards in place to ensure you’re protected. Paul Bruton, WernerCo’s product development director, explains how to guarantee your tools measure up In the UK over 60% of fatal injuries in the workplace occur when working at height, so it is vital that all access solutions adhere to British and European Ladder Certification standards. For the heating and plumbing industry it is key that installers are using ladders that comply with EN131 legislation, which ensures products are covered by minimum safety requirements. Ladders that are compliant with EN131 are independently tested and certified to a set standard so it is easy to determine whether a product measures up. The standard covers ladders that are used for trade use, perfect for plumbers and heating engineers who may not always need to use a ladder on a day-to-day basis. What product to choose? Not only is it paramount that your ladders conform to EN131 standards, when deciding what ladder to choose it is best practice to determine what work you’ll be carrying out with the ladder. If you’re working around electricity, a fibreglass ladder has to be used because of its non-conductive properties and to protect against potential shocks. “For the heating and plumbing industry it is key that installers are using ladders that comply with EN131 legislation, which ensures products are covered by minimum Before beginning a task where work at height is required, first ask yourself a few questions: Will the task be completed in under 30 minutes? If so, will the ladder be positioned on a level and stable foundation? If not, alternative equipment should be sought. Any work that is done with the aid of a ladder should always be carried out face-on and also should not be used if the user has to over-stretch. Work at Height regulations prohibit over-stretching, which can ultimately diminish productivity if the installer cannot move around easily, or if they are confined to a very small work area. Ladders are also not suitable if there is a requirement to lift awkward or heavy loads. With safety of paramount importance, a number of key produ ct considerations shou ld be taken into account at the point of purchase. These inclu de fact ors such as whether the ladder is the right size and material for the jo b; whether a standing platform is required; and if i t is equipped with a tool tray to reduce the number of trips up and dow n the ladder. For certain tasks, use of a ladder is not always appropriate, and instead an access platform is required. An alternative option is a low-level work system, which is perfect for long duration work and where frequent access to the working area is required. The benefits of access equipment like the BoSS Low Level Work System is that it’s easy to assemble and boasts a large working area allowing space for two people to work together on the same platform. Flexibility is one of the main advantages of these units, making it a practical option for site use across a number of different building environments. The BoSS system is a two-man working unit, available in lengths of 1.3m and 2.6m, and at platform heights of 0.75m and 1m. It’s this type of flexible construction and versatile application that has helped to increase the popularity of access systems over permanent scaffolding options. For installers unsure on which type of access equipment is appropriate for the job, the Work at height Access equipment Information Toolkit is a free online resource that provides details of some of the most common types of access equipment and where its use is most appropriate. 62 TOOLS & EQUIPMENT Fibreglass ladders are suitable for all specialist trades www.hpmmag.com May 2017 safety requirements” enquiry number 139 A tool tray will reduce the number of trips up and down the ladder


HPM May 2017
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