Ladder idea may be a life safer
WINDOW cleaner David Farnworth has conjured up an invention he hopes will save lives – a non-slip ladder mat.Every week in Britain one person dies and 100 are injured from falling off ladders, many of them involved in DIY jobs on their homes.
WINDOW cleaner David Farnworth has conjured up an invention he hopes will save lives – a non-slip ladder mat.
Every week in Britain one person dies and 100 are injured from falling off ladders, many of them involved in DIY jobs on their homes.
But an enterprising Felixstowe man has invented a new gadget which reduces the risk of the ladder slipping away from its position and could help save lives.
David Farnworth's Laddermat is designed to make ladders safer on uneven, smooth or soft ground, or just for those who want extra protection while they are cleaning the windows, painting the house or clearing the gutters.
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Two years ago, he quit Felixstowe port after 25 years – mainly to get away from shift work – and bought a window cleaning round.
But no sooner had he started on his new job than he found problems.
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"The ground in some places can slope quite badly and you only need one leg of an extended ladder to be four centimetres lower than level to make it swing 50 cm at the top," he said.
"To begin with I was using an old car mat folded over into four and putting that under the leg and that was what gave me the idea.
"I then went and bought two car mats and cut them in to quarters and glued them together."
The idea worked and held the ladder firm on a variety of surfaces, including slippery and soft ones, as well as helping to level it up on uneven ground.
Mr Farnworth, 49, who lives with his wife Wendy in Quilter Road, then set about further design work – creating four thick rubber double-sided pads, with nodules each side so they would grip together, held together by a metal handle.
The idea is as many as needed can be used to make the ladder even and safe.
Instead of handling containers at the port, the port is now handling his first container – a 20ft box from Indonesia containing 4,500 packaged Laddermats.
"Now I just have to market and sell them! My nephews Craig and Stuart Whinney have made a three-minute promotional video and a leaflet is now being produced. Several of the larger DIY stores are interested," he said.
He has taken a few weeks off from window cleaning – though a couple of friends are doing the round for him – to do the marketing work to sell his product at local hardware shops.
It's not the first time one of his inventions have been in the shops – 20 years ago his Handy Handle easy lifting gadget sold over 130,000.
"It is rewarding to see it happen but it is a lot of work. There does not seem to be much help for inventors in the UK and I am sure a lot of brilliant ideas get lost because the people cannot afford to take them further," he said.
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