When the Working at Height Regulations drew our attention to the dangers of trusting stepladders on major building sites, there has been an influx of project manager requiring subcontractors to hire podium steps and leave their rickety stepladders at home.
Podium steps really do leave stepladders standing. Podium steps have a workable platform, that allows the contractor to work safely and effectively when they need to complete projects at any low-level height; even from merely a metre off the ground there have been far fewer injuries as a result of slips and falls. In 2004, an astonishing 69 people died after falling under a metre’s drop. Surely you’d do anything to not fall into that category.
Platforms used on site should, as the WAHR state, “allow the person to adopt the correct work position or posture for the work in hand”. Podium steps do just that. Stepladders encourage contractors to move in all manner of unnatural positions in order to complete their task. Hired podium steps offer a more secure, more natural working position, which means contractors can concentrate on the job in hand, not on the pain in their neck! An integrated guardrail saves stumbles from being anything but a curse. A stumble from a stepladder could well leave your contractor in plaster and you scrambling around to find a replacement at short, expensive notice.
As far as safety is concerned, podium steps such an improvement on stepladders, but they will also put you ahead of the game in business as well. If your contractor is able to work comfortably, he – or she – is more likely to complete their project in far less time than if they were to do with steps. It’s also likely to be a much better finished product as well. Both will result in a better reputation for your business.
It’s not surprise that expectations have changed, even in such a short amount of time. Most site contractors now assume subcontractors will hire podium steps and not arrive on site with stepladders. As a result, sites are far safer, and adopt a more professional attitude to work.
How do you recognise podium steps? Of all those that are on offer for hire, the top podium steps on the hire market look a lot like the stepladder. It folds down in one piece, making it easy to move around the site. Although they’re a similar height to a normal stepladder, they also provide a wide platform.
The wheeled base and narrow form that fits through a standard door makes for easy manoeuvring, but the wheels lock firmly, so the contractor has a stable base, so he has the confidence to work any height. There are a few podium steps available for hire that give you a non-slip, adjustable podium, so you can reach 4 different working heights. They all come with the obligatory guardrail and secure gate that helps prevent accidents: something a friend of mine would have found useful in America a year ago, when he toppled from the top of a stepladder and smashed both his wrists. Not a great way to learn a lesson
The podium steps are erected in around 15 seconds, so there is no excuse for a tea-break after setting up – just get up there and comfortably get to work.
With the wheels and the platform there is no need to haul tools and equipment between tasks, just wheel the whole hired podium to the next area and continue working.