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The Ultimate Guide to GRP Podium Steps Hire

GRP Podium Step Hire
GRP Podium Steps Hire

Contents

Things to consider

  • The work to be done - the need to adjust your working position while at height will determine whether you need podium steps. The nature of the work will also influence their height, type and size.
  • The rules and regulations on working at height and hazardous areas - when you hire GRP podium steps, you need to make sure they comply with all the laws on working at height and working in areas where hazardous chemicals, gases and electricity are present.

Introduction

There are many instances where working at height is required. For exterior works such as roof repairs and cladding, scaffold towers are typically used. For interior jobs and works at shorter heights, such as changing light bulbs, fixing vents, servicing air-conditioning or telecommunications units and cleaning gutters, podium steps are a preferred choice.

Both scaffolding and podium steps serve the same purpose: to protect workers from falling. According to the Health and Safety Executive, on average 50 people in Great Britain die each year as a result of a fall from height, and nearly 9,000 are seriously injured.

Falls from height can do serious damage even when the fall is less than two metres. This is where podium steps come in. These provide a stable, secure way of reaching difficult heights where a ladder would not be appropriate or sufficiently safe.

There are many different types that you can hire, including aluminium podium steps, delta decks, razor decks and adjustable variants. This guide focuses on GRP podium steps hire, which are available from Lakeside-Hire in two height options: 1 metre and 1.2 metres.

What are GRP podium steps?

Podium steps are similar to ladders in that they have a vertical or inclined set of steps. However, they also feature a platform or podium to stand on and work. They provide low-level height access when you require more flexible movement than a ladder will allow. Typically made from aluminium, they are designed to protect workers from falling while on the platform by means of guard rails and safety chains. Some types like razor decks resemble miniature scaffold towers.

GRP podium steps are made from glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), rather than aluminium. GRP is also known as fibreglass and is stronger and denser than many metals. Its most important qualities are that it is non-conducting, non-sparking, non-oxidising and resistant to chemical corrosion. These qualities make fibreglass steps an ideal choice when working in areas where electricity, hazardous chemicals and potentially explosive gases are present, known as Zone 1 areas.

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GRP Podium Step Hire

GRP Podium Step Hire

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  • Certified to EN131
  • Available next day delivery, London and nationwide
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The legal requirements for GRP podium steps

The first piece of law you need to consider is the Work at Height Regulations 2005. These apply to all work where there is a risk of personal injury from a fall from height. They place duties on anyone controls work at height activity, such as employers, facilities managers and building owners.

Those in control of work at height have to ensure the following:

  • all work at height is properly planned and organised
  • those involved in work at height are competent
  • the risks from work at height are assessed
  • appropriate equipment is used, inspected and maintained
  • the risks of working on or near fragile surfaces are properly managed.

But the first thing to be considered is the “hierarchy of controls”. This means going through three simple steps:

  • 1. Avoid working at height by doing as much work as you can from the ground.
  • 2. If you can’t do the job without working at height, use appropriate access and safety equipment such as podium steps, ladders, scaffolding and scissor lifts.
  • 3. If the risk of a fall can’t be eliminated, do what you reasonably can to minimise the distance and consequences of the fall.

By offering safe low-level height access for wide range of jobs, podium steps help you stay within the law on working at height. They typically feature safety chains and guard rails to provide a safe enclosure for workers while they are standing on the podium. In all cases they have to conform to the European Standard EN131. This covers portable steps and ladders made from metal and GRP and sets out minimum safety requirements.

Employers must also consider whether their workers are in a “hazardous area” while working at height. In this context, the other relevant laws are the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) and the Equipment and Protective Systems for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 (EPS Regulations).

DSEAR requires employers to control the risks to safety from fire, explosions and corrosive substances. In particular, they have to assess the risk posed by any dangerous substance in the workplace and, where an explosive atmosphere may occur, they must classify the area as Zone 0, Zone 1 or Zone 2.

  • Zone 0 is an area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods.
  • Zone 1 is an area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is likely to occur as a result of normal operations.
  • Zone 2 is an area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is not likely to occur as a result of normal operations and, if it does, it will only last a short time.

Employers must then select equipment and protective systems that are appropriate for working in each of the zones and meet the EPS Regulations. In turn, the EPS Regulations place a duty on manufacturers to supply equipment that is suitable for working in the different zones.

This is when GRP podium steps are called upon. They are designed for industrial work in Zone 1 and Zone 2 environments because the fibreglass will not spark, will not conduct electricity, will not oxidise or corrode, and is resistant to chemicals. They are specially produced for use near live electricity, in explosive atmospheres, around corrosive substances and in hygiene-sensitive environments such as food production areas.

The benefits of GRP podium steps

The benefits of using GRP podium steps are as follows:

  • Free-standing units and safer than many ladders. Ladders typically lean against walls and posts for support, a less secure system for working at height.
  • More flexible than ladders; they have platforms that allow you to adjust your working position while at height, as opposed to moving the whole unit as you would with a ladder.
  • Enclosed with guard rails and safety chains so that users are not working on an unguarded platform, and can move around safely.
  • Handy and mobile. They are often adjustable or come in several heights.
  • Many podium steps can be erected in less than 15 seconds, and are easier to set up than scaffold towers.
  • Suitable for use in Zone 1 environments and areas where chemicals and high-voltage electricity are present.
  • GRP is non-oxidising, unlike aluminium. This means work surfaces stay clean and free of residue. This is essential in hygiene-sensitive environments such as food preparation areas.
  • GRP is tough, durable and resistant to chemical corrosion.

Fibreglass Podium Step Hire

Tips before hiring

Before you set your sights on hiring some GRP podium steps, check to ensure that they are EN131-certified, conform to HSE guidelines, and are suitable for use in Zone 1 environments. You should make sure you source your steps from a trusted and reliable supplier that will deliver quickly without blowing your budget.

Lakeside-Hire offers 1 Metre and 1.2 Metre GRP Podium Steps. Both sizes conform to EN131 standards and all relevant health and safety rules and guidelines. Both are suitable for industrial work in Zone 1 environments and sensitive electrical areas such as data centres and telephone exchanges.

Our GRP podium steps have wheels at the rear for easy transportation and a wide working platform of 400mm by 600mm, offering good working position flexibility. The standing platform is strong and stable and a safety chain fits behind the user to provide a full 360-degree enclosure. The unit is also fitted with anti-surf devices for additional stability.

For more information about GRP podium steps hire, please call us on 0330 134 6224 or email us at [email protected], or you can request a call back.

FAQs about GRP podium steps hire

1. What does GRP stand for?

GRP stands for glass-reinforced plastic, also known as fibreglass.

2. When should I use GRP podium steps rather than the aluminium type?

When you are working at height in Zone 1 environments, as well as hygiene-sensitive areas and any area where live electricity or hazardous substances are present. GRP is the only appropriate material for these areas because it is non-conductive, non-sparking, non-oxidising and resistant to corrosion.

3. Why are podium steps better than ladders?

Podium steps are safer than ladders because they are free-standing and comprise an enclosed working platform.

4. Why should I hire GRP podium steps from Lakeside-Hire?

For all these reasons...

  • They are EN131-certified, HSE-compliant and suitable for industrial use in environments where electricity and chemicals are present, including Zone 1 areas.
  • Our prices are extremely affordable. In most cases, Lakeside-Hire prices are 69% lower than all of our competitors.
  • We offer next day delivery nationwide.
  • When you hire GRP podium steps for 3 weeks or more, we’ll deliver your steps for free.
  • Two platform heights available: 1 metre and 1.2 metres.
  • Each unit has wheels at the rear for easy transportation.
  • The steps have a flexible working platform of 400mm by 600mm.
  • The platform is strong and a safety chain fits behind the user to provide a full 360-degree enclosure.
  • The steps have anti-surf devices for extra stability.

Need hiring advice? call us on 0333 920 2076
or

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