How to safely secure access equipment to vehicles

Posted on 8th Jan, 2015 | By Lorretta Tatham

Another blog and another helpful How To article; this time we’re taking a look at how to safely secure access equipment to your vehicle. With the speed, movement and momentum of driving, access equipment can easily fall from a roof if not properly secured. Ensuring your access equipment remains in place and creates little damage to those around you is easy with the right fixings and accessories.

5 steps to securing access equipment to your vehicle

  1. Make sure you’ve prepared your equipment for transport. For example, it’s vital that an extension ladder is collapsed and doesn’t extend more than the length of your vehicle. A protruding ladder is illegal and dangerous to other road users – especially in a collision
  2. Don’t over reach while trying to fix a ladder to a high vehicle – use a step ladder and use rollers to put the ladder on the roof of your vehicle
  3. The safest way to transport your access equipment around is with a specialised roof rack, specifically designed for that purpose. This is probably the most expensive option, but will be the safest if you can find a suitable roof rack for your specific vehicle.
  4. Ladder clamps are also a great option to ensure access equipment is safety stored. These can be used in conjunction with a more general roof rack and are recommended above other options such as ropes.
  5. If using clamps, make sure you don’t over tighten them otherwise over time the hook will stretch, causing the ladders to no longer be securely fastened. Also ensure that you don’t secure too many pieces of equipment in one clamp.

Risks of failing to secure your access equipment safely to your vehicle

Any ladder that isn’t secured properly to your vehicle can be a huge risk to passers by and other road users. If at any time you need to brake suddenly while on the road, the ladder can shoot forward, injuring drivers, passengers and even other road users if it goes through the windscreen. Even collapsible ladders are still heavy enough to cause serious damage during a collision or in a sudden braking situation. The Highway Code reiterates this point and says that “you must secure your load and it must not stick out dangerously.”

Last year, there were several incidents that occurred from failing to secure access equipment safely. Back in August, there was a major incident on the M66 when multiple ladders fell off the back of a van. The accident caused a crash involving three cars and created long tailbacks on the motorway for the rest of the morning. Other incidents have also resulted in serious harm to passers by and passengers in other vehicles resulting in cars needing to be scrapped.

Stay safe with ladder clamps

If you don’t already have any ladder clamps, we recommend you invest in them and begin practising proper health and safety right away. Safety both at work and at home is no joke, BE SAFE!

Do you have any tips for safely securing access equipment to a vehicle? If so, tell us in the comments below or tweet us @BrownsLadders

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