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Are loft ladders dangerous?

January 15, 2019 36
Loft ladders are one of the only types of ladder that everyone will use at one time or another because they are a feature of nearly every home.  Most modern homes have a ladder built in to the loft hatch, or one that can be pulled down when the hatch is opened using a pole.  Older homes generally have smaller loft hatches and unless renovations have been carried out to enlarge the hatch size to install a purpose built loft ladder there is no way of accessing the space without using either a straight ladder propped against the hatch, or a step ladder placed underneath the loft opening.  This approach often involves standing on the top rung of the step ladder in order to get enough height to swing into the loft, which is a dangerous move and something which ladder manufacturers implore peopl...
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Ladder standards raised for 2019

January 08, 2019 1
Whether it's part of the Brexit effect (whereby EU regulations are being replaced with UK based ones) or not, ladder standards are changing this year and it is vital that businesses using ladders have the correct equipment.  Formerly there was the EN 131 safety standard which covered a wide range of ladders.  This is being split into two new classifications, EN 131 Professional and EN 131 Non-Professional.  The new classifications reflect the testing that each ladder must undergo in order to be safe for use, and this means that Non-professional ladders are now capable of holding the same weight as Professional ones, while in the past a domestic rated ladder would have been tested to hold a lower weight than a trade one.  Businesses proving ladders for staff use must ensure they have the co...
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Recovery ladders at sea

January 04, 2019 0
Safety specialists CQC have released a self-recovery ladder for use on fishing vessels and other small craft.  The ladder has been developed to provide sole anglers and small crews with the ability to efficiently and safely deal with a man overboard situation.  It fixes to the side of the boat and is reachable from the waterline.  A pull cord deploys the lightweight ladder to the sea level, and the person can then climb back into the boat without further assistance.  It is necessarily lightweight so that it does not affect the balance of the boat and is made from the same lightweight materials used to build their stretchers and cradles, also designed for maritime rescue operations. The 3 metre version weighs just 2.7 kilos and is useable within a matter of seconds from deployment, which is...
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The long ladder of the law

December 19, 2018 0
Police in Grimsby had a lofty chase on their hands in early March, when a man they were chasing in connection with an incident earlier in the day climbed on to the roofs of nearby shops and houses to escape arrest.  It took over an hour to persuade the man to come back down after he was assured he could call his partner before being taken away.  Police provided the man with a telescopic ladder, which he used to descend from the house roof before officers arrested him. This incident comes a year after another man, being chased by police, took to the rooftops in a vain attempt to evade capture, so at least they had some experience in dealing with criminals who take this unusual route.  Telescopic ladders are ideal for police use as they can be stored in the back of any police car, and potent...
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Britain's most expensive ladder?

December 12, 2018 0
While a ladder is an investment worthy of careful thought, it's hardly in the same league as buying a car or a house – the financial outlay won't break the bank.  Highly specialised ladders and scaffold towers can be in the same ballpark as a used car, but a simple wooden ladder shouldn't set you back more than around £100. At a recent auction in Bolton, a wooden steeplejack ladder sold for £1000, with a similar one selling for £950.  Why did these ladders attract such a high price?  Well, they were owned and used by Britain's most famous steeplejack Fred Dibnah.  The more expensive one, decked out with black ribbons, was used to carry his coffin so it is no surprise that this commanded a higher price from fans of the late TV presenter and personality. Three ladders were sold in total, wit...
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Ladders can be dangerous in more ways than one

November 19, 2018 0
Shocking CCTV footage released last week shows a convenience store worker challenging armed thieves with a step ladder.  Luckily, the member of staff was not behind the counter when the three knife-wielding robbers burst into the shop and kicked their way into the counter area.  He was able to grab a step ladder used in the store for reaching high shelves and brandished it at the three thieves, scaring them off as he used the ladder to threaten them out of the store. No-one was hurt in the incident but getting hit with a ladder is a painful experience, something that the three young robbers escaped this time, but the threat of that was enough to scare them away.  Ladders are often used in wrestling matches as a weapon or a prop, depending on your opinion of the choreographed entertainment....
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Moving house is a great time to audit your ladder stock

October 24, 2018 0
If you are moving house, either to a larger property or downsizing to more compact accommodation, then the time is right to take stock of your ladders and decide which ones can stay, and what must go.  Nearly every home in Britain has a step ladder used for changing light bulbs or hanging curtains, and it is unlikely, unless you are moving to managed or serviced accommodation, that you won't need that step ladder in your new home.  It is still worth checking over your trusty step ladder for signs of damage and wear that may make it unsafe to use in the long term, as it will probably get a lot of use during the move to put items away in high cupboards and shelves, and to hang wallpaper and curtains.  If the step ladder looks like it may not go the distance then get a replacement now, to avo...
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Safety around water – how ladders can help

September 23, 2018 0
Water can be dangerous for non-swimmers – approximately 9 million people in the UK cannot swim, while 25% of people who can swim thought they would struggle to swim 25 metres unaided.  These statistics are quite worrying given the amount of coastline and waterways in the UK, but strategically placed ladders at the side of canals or popular swimming spots with sheer sides, like wharfs and small harbours, can help save lives.  A ladder on a quayside or canal lock provides an escape route for anyone who falls in, and even if the person requires rescuing and cannot manage the ladder on their own, it still makes getting them out of the water much easier.  Animals who fall into pools and drains where they cannot get out also benefit from ladders, either fixed or placed in as a rescue method.  In...
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Ladders in art through human history

September 16, 2018 0
We've looked at artistic interpretations and applications of ladders in the past on this blog, and there have been several high profile installations and events dedicated to the humble structure.  It is often used as a metaphor for progress, from children's board games to symbolising the purchase of property or career progression.  The depiction of ladders in art through human history shows proof of their importance to people at all stages of historic cultural development.  In the modern day ladders are often found as sculptures; Charlie Brouwer is prolific in his use of them as components of an installation which represents the community and there have also been installations by other artists on Dartmoor, and now in New Zealand.  Gerry Judah designed Jacob's Ladder for Gibb's Farm, a scul...
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Ladders for birds?

September 04, 2018 0
Chicken ladder is the way in and out of the coop, and there are some models that are supposedly fox proof, although those wily creatures will find a way in if they are determined to do so.  Most chicken ladders are planks of wood with dowels laid across to provide some traction for the birds as they go up and down.  The fox proof models are more akin to a rudimentary ladder with rungs fixed to a single, central stile.  Foxes find the basic models very easy to climb, but the fox proof model is supposed to be very hard for them to navigate. Chickens are using these special ladders in the same way that humans do – to access high up places.  A breeding pair of blackbirds in Cumbria, however, decided to use a ladder in a very different way.  Homeowners Bill and Jo Maddams were doing some routin...
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