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Safety when climbing poles

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The customer


E.ON Avacon, a subsidiary of the E.ON energy group, is one of the largest regional energy providers in Germany with its headquarters in Helmstedt. The network area of E.ON Avacon AG stretches across central and eastern Lower Saxony and northern and central Saxony-Anhalt.



The company's power network measures 53,600 kilometres in length. Added to this are the pipework systems for natural gas and for the water supply. Over 2,000 employees in the electricity sector are responsible for the primary distribution network and the customers' house service connections. Covering an area of 22,350 square kilometres, the supply area is one of the largest of any energy supplier in Germany.

The task

In the supply area of E.ON Avacon there are a multitude of overhead lines which are routed on concrete poles. These medium high-voltage lines must be subjected to regular inspections. In Saxony-Anhalt there is also a bird protection programme in operation. In this case the lines on insulator systems must be fitted with special plastic covers. This is intended to prevent larger birds which have landed on the concrete poles from coming into contact with the power lines when they spread their wings.

This year alone over 550 concrete poles in Saxony-Anhalt are being fitted by E.ON Avacon trainees with these protective covers.

To fit the plastic covers, it is necessary to climb the poles. However, the previously used pole access systems no longer complied with the current occupational safety requirements and were sometimes so worn that they could not be repaired.

The solution

Together with ZARGES, E.ON Avacon developed specifications containing the most important product characteristics:

  • Highest occupational safety requirements by means of integrated fall arrester system
  • Easy handling
  • High flexibility with regard to height and pole diameter
  • Rapid setup
  • Safe climbing feel thanks to ladder system with two stiles


All the requirements have been implemented by ZARGES in a new pole access ladder.


Technical particulars of the work platform

The pole access ladder designed by ZARGES consists of three different elements which are assembled directly on the pole.

  • The lower pole ladder is 3.50 metres long and is fitted with two ground spikes at the bottom end. An adjustable ladder adapter (available as an accessory) provides stability, even on uneven ground.
  • The middle pole ladder is 2.85 metres long is attached with a special, high-strength connector to the lower ladder. To reach the desired height, up to five elements of the middle pole ladder can be attached one on top of the other.
  • The upper pole ladder is slotted into the final middle ladder and secured to the desired length with a grid of 280 millimetres. The fall arrester must be implemented at this point for access.


All the ladder elements are secured to the pole using a stand-off bracket and braided rope. The braided rope is secured using three jam cleats and a knot around an eyebolt. The arrester rail is attached to the ladder in the middle.

Wide, 30 mm deep rungs and the two aluminium stiles ensure an excellent grip when ascending and descending.

Thanks to the use of aluminium extruded sections, the ladder parts are so light that they can be effortlessly set up. The middle pole ladders weight just 12 kilos.

Interview with Martin Bruns, instructor at E.ON Avacon, Lüneburg


ZARGES:                  What was the problem that led to the purchase of the ZARGES pole access ladder?
Martin Bruns:    We have in stock a larger number of completely antiquated pole access ladders which no longer comply with the present-day occupational safety requirements. The upshot of this was that for a lot of work lifting platforms or work platforms were used which caused in parts considerable damage to floors. Another aspect was the fact that in the company we were using different systems which did not always facilitate sound instruction and safe deployment.

ZARGES:How did you go about the new acquisition?

Martin Bruns: In an inventory of the existing systems we listed the benefits and drawbacks of the individual systems. This resulted in what was virtually a set of specifications with what we were demanding of an optimum pole access ladder.
The experts at ZARGES then implemented our requirements to the letter and designed a pole access ladder which meets our requirements exactly.

ZARGES:Can you describe these requirements in brief?

Martin Bruns: The most important thing is the highest possible degree of safety. This includes an integrated fall arrester system as well as safe and secure attachment to the pole. But also issues of flexibility and weight were included in these specifications, and finally two workers must be able to set up and take down the ladder on site in as short a time as possible.

ZARGES:What experiences have you gained with the new pole access ladder?

Martin Bruns: We are very pleased with the new pole access ladder because it offers our employees a flexible system for climbing poles and protects them sufficiently in the process. We are now planning to buy more pole access ladders so that we can work with standardised ladders throughout the company as soon as possible.
We are particularly positive about the cooperation with the access technology experts at ZARGES because they addressed all our requirements and ideas and translated them directly into suitable solutions. We have therefore acquired a product which is not only tailored to our requirements, but also being received with interest by many colleagues.


Interested in further information on ZARGES pole access ladders?
Then simply contact us: By telephone at the Access Technology Customer Centre on +49-(0)881-687-100 or via our online contact form.