Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question which is not answered on this site please ask us --- 01452 520144.
We are here to sell, but we are also here to help.
Our many years of experience mean we can often give sound advice or suggest where you might find it.

About Ladders

Q. How do I choose the right length of ladder?
Q. Where can I find out more about Health & Safety regulations for ladder use?
Q. Should I choose a 2-section (Double) or a 3-section (Triple) ladder?
Q. I'm not happy up a ladder. How can I work more safely?

About Stepladders

Q. I've got tall hedges to cut. What are my options for reaching them?
Q. What is the difference between a Platform Step and a Swingback (Builders) Step?

About Scaffold Towers

Q. How do I choose the right height of scaffold tower?
Q. I bought a steel scaffold tower years ago from somewhere-or-other. Can I buy extra frames from Lansford Access?
Q. Where can I find out more about Health & Safety regulations for scaffold tower use?
Q. Can you arrange tower safety training courses for my employees?

About Ladders

Q.  How do I choose the right length of ladder?
A. Firstly, be cautious about just counting the rungs on an old ladder and buying another with the same number.  Many ladders have had the distance from rung-to-rung increased in the last few years so that, for example an old Double 17 rung ladder may well be the same size as a current Double 15 rung ladder.  If you need a new ladder the same length as your old one it is always better to measure the length of the stiles than count the rungs.

Secondly, most people grossly over-estimate heights.  Wherever possible measure the height you need to reach with a tape measure, length of string or count the brick courses and multiply by the depth of one course.

Thirdly, be aware that the "Extended Height" of a ladder is measured along the side stiles at maximum safe extension.  When the ladder is positioned at the correct angle against the wall (see Using Ladders Safely on our Ladder Safety page) some of this "Extended Height" will be lost.  Do not over-compensate for this though -  a ladder with an Extended Height of 9.0m / 30ft will only lose about 30cm / 1ft when positioned at the correct working angle.

Fourthly, bear in mind that not everyone likes to use a ladder at full extension.  Many of our customers have said that they always like to have 4 or 5 rungs overlapped.  If you agree, make an allowance for this in your choice.

^

Q. Where can I find out more about Health & Safety regulations for ladder use?
A. There are many publications available from The Stationery Office. The following list is not exhaustive, but should be a good start -

Online information is available at -
www.the-stationery-office.co.uk
www.hsebooks.co.uk
www.hsedirect.com
www.citb.co.uk

For general advice and information, see our Ladder Safety page on this site.

^

Q. Should I choose a 2-section (Double) or a 3-section (Triple) ladder?
A. In our opinion the only disadvantages of a Triple ladder are (a) extra cost and (b) having two places where the rungs disappear (at the base of an overlap) when descending the ladder, rather than only one as on a Double.  Apart from this a Triple is preferable.

  1. It has a shorter closed length - easier to store and transport plus easier to carry because it is not so top-heavy ;
  2. It can be separated into two or sometimes three sections for greater versatility and lighter carrying ;
  3. It is easier to extend because you have two shorter sections to push up instead of one longer one ( Rope-Operated Doubles use to make this easier but these are now only available as very heavy and expensive Industrial Duty Class 1 ladders which are unsuitable for the average user ) ;
  4. It can be used at lower heights than a long Double because of its shorter closed length.
  5. All-in-all it's no contest!


^

Q. I'm not happy up a ladder. How can I work more safely?
A. There are many ways of increasing ladder safety.  See our huge range of Ladder Accessories, many of which are designed to do just this.  See also our Ladder Safety page which is full of good advice.  Maybe you should not use a ladder at all?  Have you considered one of our Scaffold Towers instead?  For longer jobs they are much more comfortable and considerably safer.

^

About Stepladders

Q. I've got tall hedges to cut. What are my options for reaching them?
A. The most obvious is a stepladder. However, these are notoriously dangerous and many accidents result from their use every year. Two major dangers are - a) using flimsy Domestic Duty steps which are not robust enough for the task  - b) using steps sideways-on to the hedge so that overreaching causes the steps the topple over in the opposite direction.

The safest form of steps is an alloy TRIPOD Stepladder ( click for our Garden Ladders page & see Highgrove, Henchman & Groundsman ranges ). This has a single back leg which can be pushed into the hedge allowing the Tripod to be used face-on rather than sideways-on.  Specialist outdoor Hedgemaster and Hi-Step steps are also excellent and very safe, with 4 individually adjustable legs with 2ft of adjustement in each to overcome slopes & uneven ground and straddle over low walls etc.

Many people are happy with a Combination Ladder which can be used as a normal straight ladder and a tall pair of steps ( click for Combination Ladders page ), but care is still needed with these.
Probably the safest option is a small scaffold or scaffold tower. These do not have to be expensive and give a very large, stable base area ( perhaps 4' x 4' ) which is far less likely to topple over. Many scaffolds have the option of Adjustable Height Castors or Bases for levelling on sloping or uneven ground. Click here for our Scaffold Towers.

^

Q. What is the difference between a Platform Step and a Swingback (Builders) Step?
A. Notoriously difficult to explain in text, but easy with the steps in front of you. At its simplest - a Platform Step has a platform and a Swingback (Builders) Step doesn't! The important point though, is that e.g. a 7 tread Platform Step is not the same height as a 7 tread Swingback Step and cannot be used to reach the same height.  The number of treads stated with a Platform Step includes the platform - this is normally the highest safe standing position because the top rail extends above the platform and gives a bracing point for the lower legs.  The highest bracing point on a Swingback Step will be the topmost tread, (tread 7 in our example) so users should always stand several treads lower. Although frequently ignored, to comply with H&S regulations users should actually never stand beyond the point at which they can take a secure hand-hold of the steps. 

^

About Scaffold Towers

Q. How do I choose the right height of scaffold tower?
A. See "Height Required" on our Tower Tips page.

^

Q. I bought a steel scaffold tower years ago from somewhere-or-other. Can I buy extra frames from Lansford Access?
A.  Almost certainly, "No".  Virtually all steel towers are made to slightly different dimensions and simply will not fit together.  You will have to track down the original manufacturer. This is a particular problem with very cheap towers - usually they are made by fly-by-nights, out of scrap steel which is bought in as an assortment of tube dimensions and makers have difficulty to provide identical, compatible tube from one month to the next.
Lansford has been supplying the same towers for many years and our customers can be assured that additional frames will be available well into the future.

^

Q. Where can I find out more about Health & Safety regulations for scaffold tower use?
A.
There are many publications available from The Stationery Office. The following list is not exhaustive, but should be a good start -

Online information is available at -
www.the-stationery-office.co.uk
www.hsebooks.co.uk
www.hsedirect.com
www.citb.co.uk

Also see - British Standard BS1139: Part 3: 1994 ( also known as HD1004 ; GS DIN4422-1 etc )

^

Q. Can you arrange tower safety training courses for my employees?
A. Yes.  Please ring us to discuss your requirements - 01452 520144.  Courses are run at our Gloucester premises and other locations.