Seventec stepladder from Zarges – Safe Working at Height

Aimed at: Professional fitters. 

Pros: Rigid safe and in all weather conditions with lumniscent Hi-Vi Strips.

Zarges is a company to look at when it comes to innovative solutions to new working at height products that conform to latest Health and Safety rulings. But the company is also not beyond innovating just because innovation to reflect new materials and markets is a good thing per se.

As it happens, I have been doing several jobs recently that have involved the extensive use of “hop-ups” and small ladders. As I have got older I have increasingly become less of a fan of ladders higher than three metres or so, but the arrival of the Zarges Seventec series is right within my comfort zone and also suits my main purposes very well.

 

The Seventec Series consists of three work platforms with double sided access, extra wide treads and working heights ranging from 2.49m to 2.99m.

The taller work platform with single sided access also has three versions with working heights from 2.66m to 3.08m and these are followed by the Seventec stepladder range, all optimised for safer working outdoors.

The three models have working heights ranging from 2.7m to 3.1m and I was sent the latter to try out.

I must admit that when I saw the ladder in its transit packaging lying in the ToolBusiness office I was concerned that it might be too big to fit into my hatchback, but with the packaging removed it was a good fit, with the top section fitting snugly over the passenger headrest so that it wouldn’t move around in transit. Of course this also means that it would fit nicely onto a roof rack or inside an average sized van with no trouble at all, and with a weight of only 8.1 Kgs it is easy to carry and shift about.

The stability test is a good “first impression” test that I always try when I have to use a ladder. This usually tells me whether the ladder feels too light or flexible to feel safe under my feet as I climb.

The Zarges Seventec is easy to open via the integrated platform hinge that does not have any play in it at all, so the two sections of the ladder very stably bonded together. The two side locking arms are made from substantial alloy strips and lock positively when pushed down. So, first impressions on opening the ladder and setting it up on a reasonably flat surface were that it felt very stable and solid, with very little “play” other than the necessary flexibility required for easy movement of the parts relative to each other.

The other thing that I think offers that “extra-stable” feeling is that the uprights on the ladder seem to have an upward taper on them that is much less than “normal ladders.” As a result, the ladder feels wider than many I have used and the wide treads offer more than enough space for working–boot clad feet.

I wondered a bit about how the Zarges team had managed to achieve such rigid upright pieces, but a close examination gives the answer: - on each side of each upright there are two deep U-shaped folds that would prevent distortion of the extrusions anyway, but then, since each tread is riveted into these folds, (four rivets per tread) the rigidity is increased still further.

Actually, the more I used the ladder, the more I came to appreciate its stable and “safe” feel and became quite comfortable working at maximum height on the few occasions that I needed it when doing particularly high ceilings.

I used the ladder largely indoors, but in many ways, its real forte is as an outdoor ladder. The large safety platform of roughly 380mmby 260mm is substantial and provides easily enough space for big boots.

However, it is the 85mm deep treads that are one of the real contributions to outdoor safety, even in wet, snowy or muddy conditions. Without making the treads feel flimsy, a series of holes have been punched into the stepping area of each. The holes alternate between being punched either upwards or downwards. The upwards punched holes tend to provide grip for snowy or muddy feet, and their slight roughness gives grip on the rubber soles of work shoes.  The downward punched holes allow water and slushy or melted snow to drain through them and then away – so no dangerous small puddles of wet collect to be a hazard.

Added to these are twelve longitudinal ribs that are part of the extrusion. They are sharp enough to add to the grippy feel that is transmitted to the sole of workboots, so the overall feel of the ladder underfoot is that your feet are secure and unlikely to slip.

On each ladder upright, near the bottom is a substantial strip of reflective and luminescent tape that tells passers by that a ladder (possibly with someone on it) is there. And then there is the issue of the all-important ladder feet to consider. Some ladders seem to have an afterthought of a plastic moulding stuck on the bottom of each upright, but this Zarges Seventec has almost what could be called “shoes” on each foot. They extend several cm up the legs and fit snugly so they will not move. A big rivet on the inside of each leg means that they are not going to drop out or fall off.

Underneath each “shoe” is a series of deep ribs that provide good grip on smooth and rough surfaces and will prove to be long lasting too, in my opinion.

One of the things that really helped my feeling of confidence when using this ladder is that the tread side uprights have been extended upwards beyond the platform and then topped with a retainer that provides a solid reminder of where you are so that you don’t overreach or overstep. This is also used as a tray for small tools and parts. At the top of each upright is a strong plastic fitting that provides a hook for adding a workshelf for tools etc. So much easier than having to replace stuff into trouser pockets.

Overall, using this ladder, I had a strong impression that a lot of thought had gone into making a piece of equipment that is really fit for purpose, stable, strong and safe to use. I felt confident using it, and that, for me, is a huge plus. 

For more inforamation on Zarges, please visit www.zarges.com

BoSS TASKFORCE CASE STUDY with a Shade Greener & Hi Point Scaffolding

 

BoSS is the leading access tower brand in the United Kingdom, providing comprehensive and versatile tower systems to domestic, commercial and industrial projects across the country. 

Whilst the majority of towers are straightforward builds up to 8m externally or 12m internally, therefore covered by product standard EN1004:2004, the team at BoSS identified an opportunity to use the systems to replace the traditional tube and fitting scaffolds used on bigger projects, using EN1004 components but outside the scope of that standard.

This led to the formation of BoSS TASKFORCE, the expert BoSS Hire & Assembly network of carefully selected supply and erect access tower hire companies.

With founding members including Flow Access, STS & Tower Hire Services and Hi Point, this nationwide network of hire and assembly providers is capable of delivering more complex BoSS tower builds – known as prefabricated tower scaffold and covered by the new BS1139-6.

For each project, an individual design with structural calculations and method statement is prepared, before the complex structures are assembled by operatives with the appropriate competence from the BoSS TASKFORCE network. This includes scheme designs for linked, large deck and cantilever structures and site specific designs.

 

A Shade Greener & Hi Point Scaffolding

Hi Point, a Boss Taskforce member, is an independent specialist scaffolding contractor, operating throughout Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. According to MD, Chris Blantern, “the use of aluminium tower systems has grown, especially for light duty access. Boss is one of the best and most diverse access tower systems on the market and being a Boss Taskforce member means that we can offer our customers a bespoke and often more efficient service”

The boom in renewable energy has seen great success for Hi Point’s customer, A Shade Greener, the market leaders in the free solar industry, with more than 50,000 installs in the UK.

This rapidly growing business needed to work with partners they could rely on to deliver professional, innovative and efficient solutions to the vast array of different tower requirements that come with completing hundreds of home installations every week.  

 

Jason Carlton, BoSS Commercial &Product Manager at Boss BoSS explains:

“BoSS TASKFORCE members have access to our full technical resources - including custom drawings, user instructions and a structural analysis data sheet confirming technical calculations, load factors and all information required under the ‘2005 Working at Height Regulations’”

“Working in partnership with HiPoint Scaffolding, we were able to focus on a safe, cost effective, modular construction solution for A Shade Greener that combines speed of assembly with minimal impact on working environment.”

By using BoSS towers and the BoSS Taskforce’s expertise, HiPoint are able to erect towers that meet the required safety criteria at more than double the amount of houses each day, compared to traditional scaffolding.

The towers are quicker to put up and easier to inspect, meaning that more than 400 properties each week are now having solar panels installed by the team. They also benefit each homeowner by taking up less room around the outside of each house and reducing the impact on valuable driveway space or parking access.

For further information on BoSS Towers and the BoSS Taskforce, please visit: http://www.youngmangroup.com/brands/boss-towers

For further information on A Shade Greener, please visit: http://ashadegreener.co.uk/

For information on Hi Point Scaffolding, please visit http://hipointscafolding.co.uk

PASMA: On top of towers!

PAS 250 is the Publicly Available Specification sponsored by PASMA and developed in collaboration with the British Standards Institution (BSI). It specifies minimum safety and performance criteria for low level work platforms, commonly referred to as podiums or pulpits. First published in 2012, PASMA has now submitted a business plan to BSI for it to be developed into a full British Standard.

The standard covers, amongst other things, strength and stability requirements and material specifications, together with the design requirements for the working platform, side protection, access, mobility, labels and user guides. According to PASMA, users should be aware of the risks they run by specifying non-compliant equipment.

Towers on Stairs is the latest training course from the association. It shows delegates how to build stepped towers and covers the latest legislation, regulations and guidance on towers in general, as well as focusing on the issues specific to building them on stairs. Other courses include Towers for Managers and Towers for Riggers.

Throughout 2015 the association will continue to highlight the importance of only buying or renting a tower that conforms to European standard EN 1004. PASMA’s campaign Not on your life! - warns of the dangers of using incomplete and unsafe tower scaffolds that do not comply with the standard.

PASMA says there are numerous examples of people whose falls could have been prevented by using a safe tower which is why it has published its Choosing a safe mobile tower information leaflet. www.pasma.co.uk

Get ladder competent says Ladder Association

The Ladder Association is the only trade body dedicated exclusively to providing ladder users with the knowledge, skills and information they need to use ladders and stepladders safely and productively. Working in collaboration with manufacturers, policy makers and key influencers, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it harnesses the experience and expertise of its many members - manufacturers, suppliers and training companies - to fulfil a number of roles.

Chief amongst these is the delivery of industry-standard training. “If it’s right to use a ladder, use the right ladder and get trained to use it safely,” says the Association, which now trains thousands of delegates each year though its national network of audited and approved training centres. Successful candidates receive a training competence certificate and a LadderCard.

Ladder Association training ensures that delegates have an understanding of the Work at Height Regulations and the revised 2104 guidance that accompanies them, product standards and classifications, and the potential hazards affecting ladder and stepladder use. Three courses are currently available: Ladders and Stepladders; Ladder Inspection; and Steps and Step Stools.

Steps and Step Stools - the latest addition to the portfolio - caters for occasional ladder users in a variety of industry sectors, including retail, education and the health service. For more information visit www.ladderassociation.org.uk

Vertikal Days 2015 – biggest and best yet!

This year’s Vertikal Days has established the show as a major event in the European exhibition calendar. With a display of cranes and access equipment that is unrivalled anywhere in the world this year, the show has grown and developed year on year, not only establishing itself as the UK’s top lifting event but increasingly attracting visitors from further afield.

Held again this year in May, the weather - despite poor forecasts that included high winds during set up - was warm and sunny on the first day while the Thursday remained dry, although cold. Traffic congestion in the vicinity of Haydock Park - caused by major road works at the intersection of the East Lancashire Road and the M6 - meant queues to reach the venue were longer than normal, but even these did not spoil visitors’ enjoyment or keep them away with over 2,400 individuals attending, many of them for both days.

Cranes

Crane exhibitors were out in force with the UK’s best display of crawler, mobile, pick & carry, spider and tower cranes for well over 15 years. All the major manufacturers were present, reflecting the current mood of the industry.

Access

Vertikal Days is a must visit event for anyone interest in powered access. Since its inception it has attracted all types and sizes of access equipment. This year big truck mounts were back in fashion. At the opposite end of the access scale, the small push around lift is always well represented.

Onwards and Upwards

Vertikal days Cranes

This year is the ninth since its launch in 2007 with the show growing in size every years since, setting new records again this year in terms of the number of exhibitors and visitors. This year also included many subtle improvements including the site layout, a relocated and expanded Marketplace pavilion, a new entrance layout, and improved lunchtime food service. The evening networking party also hit new records with over 750 attending. Coming just a few weeks after Intermat in Paris, one might have thought would have caused a few problems. However the buoyant UK market ensured a record turnout in terms of exhibitors with all the major manufacturers or dealers represented.

There were so many new and unusual items of equipment - some arriving unannounced at the show - that it is difficult to identify each and every one. Vertikal Days has never been about visitor numbers, although those attending must represent around 90 percent of the UK buying power.

Ultimately a show’s success is measured by good contacts and relationships being made and the resulting sales. Many exhibitors reported ‘out of the blue’ unexpected sales, and as usual there were many comments about the quality and serious nature of the visitors with regards to enquiries and purchasing ability.

Next year - 2016 - will be the show’s 10th anniversary- held a little later on June 15th and 16th , further developments and improvements are planned. Let’s hope the industry continues on its upward trend and Vertikal Days 2016 will be even bigger and better!

Made to Last, Made to Protect: The Youngman S400 Fiberglass (GRP) Ladder Range

Electricians know the importance of being able to work safely and securely at height.

The improved range of Youngman Fibreglass Stepladders has been developed with the needs of the tradesman at the forefront, offering the perfect combination of stability and durability, with non-conductive stiles to 30,000 volts.

Suitable for professional use, the stepladder is available in swing back or platform style in a range of heights, with a generous slip-resistant 298mm tread pitch to give excellent reach heights.

The non-conductive fibreglass stiles make it ideal for working with electricity, while the large platform provides a secure and comfortable base to reduce fatigue.

Semi-tubular rivets provide rigid fixings for increased durability, while the heavy duty internal H-spreaders offer increased usability through a single-handed operation and a robust structure when the steps are in use.

Paul Bruton, Product Development Director, said:“We test our trade fibreglass ladders for strength and durability by simulating a tradesperson going up and down them 50,000 times, replicating the life of a ladder, so as well as being safer around electricity, they’re built to withstand the toughest conditions.

For details of Youngman Group stockists, please visit: http://www.youngmangroup.com/stockists or call +44 1621 745900

Gravity Darts, Game On!

Report by Matthew Beard

Launch of Werner ‘s inventive Partnership with the Professional Darts Corporation and 16-time World Darts Champion, Phil Taylor.

On a chilly Thursday evening in November, we made the trip up from Sussex to increasingly glamorous Shoreditch, to attend the launch of ‘Gravity Darts’, an event hosted by Werner Ladders.

The chosen venue was the Beach Babylon Bar, a sexy, upmarket establishment superbly located along the Bethnal Green Road. While originally from the state of Pennsylvania, Werner’s British base is Belper, Derbyshire. They are a brand with big plans for the UK Market, as emphasised by the colourful display of various Ladders from Werner we were greeted with as we walked down the stairs.

Kicking off proceedings was WernerCo’s Vice President of Marketing, Chris Filardi, who spoke of their UK growth in 2014, along with their partnership with the Professional Darts Corporation, Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor, and PDC supremo Barry Hearn. The charismatic Hearn was next up to speak, and regaled us with the story of the rise of Darts in the UK, and the importance for the sport to continue to evolve, to innovate, but most importantly, to remain fun.

Soon after the speeches finished, we started to really get to grips with Gravity Darts, trying to understand the philosophy behind this new sport and by taking practice turns. Looking in from an outsider’s perspective, the premise of Gravity is pretty simple; you climb up a sturdy Werner Ladder before dropping three arrowed missiles down onto a dartboard, which is lying flat on the floor. However once up you are up on the resilient Ladder from Werner, it was slightly more testing. Despite showing promise from my early efforts, the more I attempted to perfect my Gravity Darts technique, the harder it became, leaving me concerned and unsure of myself with regards to the upcoming competition.

The group gathered in anticipation around the Dart Board and the Werner Ladder, and it was soon time for renowned Master of Ceremonies John MacDonald to get us underway, alongside Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor. The pair’s rapport allowed the competition to bobble along nicely, but that did not stop my nerves, which really had started to kick in. Different scenarios began playing on my mind. What if I missed the board? What if I was rubbish? What if I fell off the ladder? (The ladder wasn't particularly high off the ground, but would've been embarrassing none the less). Before long, John was reading out my name and it was time. I stepped up, grabbed the darts and clambered up the ladder and prepared to drop my first Dart. Luckily, due to the strength and fine craftsmanship of Werner’s products, this particular apparatus, aptly named the Podium Ladder, is the perfect platform to drop a dart. While I would not say my Gravity Darts début set the world on fire, it was a lot of fun and I can certainly see it playing a big part in the meteoric rise of the sport, with Werner certainly the go-to choice of ladder when playing, and indeed for any ladder related activity. Many thanks to WernerCo for an excellent evening, as well as making such a fantastic selection of ladders.

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