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Working Safely At Height

Ladders and steps are the most common forms of access equipment, but they should only be used:

  • for a maximum of 30 minutes in one position
  • For light work and certainly nothing that involves carrying more than 10kg
  • Where 3 points of contact can be maintained (a hand and both feet)
  • Where the worker’s navel can be kept within the stiles of the ladder, and reaching to the side is not necessary

Possible safer alternatives to ladders are; Work Platforms, Podium Steps, Scaffolds & Towers. All of these give a more secure foothold and safety rails to prevent falls.



Founded in 1968, Abru has become the largest manufacturer of ladders in the UK. We caught up with Sales Director, Mike Law, at their Belper factory.

What do you think has been responsible for Abru’s success?

Our success is down to a refreshing philosophy which invests in a continuous programme of innovation, new products and state of the art manufacturing techniques, but above all our sustained growth comes down to the quality of our products combined with a high level of customer service.

In many cases people using your ladders are putting their lives in your hands, how do you ensure that every product you produce is completely safe?

Our company policy is to produce ‘Life Support Systems’ and we are widely acknowledged as having the best testing facilities of any ladder manufacturer. As well as testing products to British and international standards, we have developed a wide range of other tests that go above and beyond what is required. Finally we provide detailed information and full support with all our products.

There are still lots of accidents caused by ladders or people not using them properly, how could this be improved?

We have to continue educating people about the dangers of using the wrong types of equipment for the wrong applications. Understanding what ladder is suited to what type of work is vital in reducing accidents. As a company we can provide training on the selection, use and inspection of ladders through our ‘Ladder Association’ approved courses.

Do you think people receive enough training before using ladders?

The number of people going through the Ladder Association training courses is increasing every year - but you can never do enough!

What significant developments have there been in ladder manufacturing / design in recent years?

Although aluminium is still the most common material used in ladder manufacturing, the use of fibreglass is a major development in recent years. The non-conductive nature of these ladders allows them to be used for any type of work, including electrical jobs.

What steps does your organisation take to maintain good green credentials?

We actively encourage recycling and ensure our scrap material is recycled wherever possible. Plus, we always listen to suggestions from our employees and customers if they think there’s something else we should be doing to reduce our carbon footprint.

How do you differentiate yourselves from your competitors?

We’re a UK manufacturer that offers unrivalled customer advice, with an extensive range of top quality products.
We do have a dedicated team handling customer queries and clarifying product suitability.

At Slingsby we offer Industrial & Commercial Equipment

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