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Helping to maintain the iconic red London buses

Author: Dee Jones/18 July 2019/Categories: PREVIOUS BESPOKE PROJECTS, Ladders & Access

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safety steps

The red London bus is an iconic image recognised all over the world. There are 8,600 buses in the whole fleet, operating on 700 routes, serving 19,000 stops, carrying a jaw-dropping 6.5 million passengers each day. So that means that when the buses return to the workshops, there is an immense behind-the-scenes maintenance schedule to uphold daily, to keep the fleet operational.

The buses are consistently checked and undergo routine maintenance checks at the various bus workshop garages across the capital. Action Handling became involved in the project due to our ability to produce bespoke safety steps. The bus maintenance teams need to gain safe access at a height to check the roof and windows of the upper section of the vehicles and it was found that a standard aircraft style ladder was of no use because the standing platform was inadequately narrow to carry out this duty. Also there wasn’t enough room to carry the necessary tools required for the job and secondly the standing platform was not long enough to allow the mechanic to access all of the area safely. With using the aircraft style of steps, operatives would have to reach outside of the guard rails to gain access and obviously this was a high point of health and safety concern. The maintenance teams need to pull the steps up close to the vehicle to enable them to carry out the various checks and maintenance required, so a safety access gate would be required to ensure the maintenance teams safety and easy access, thus removing the need to overstretch outside the rails.

Our Sales Manager, Jon Ball jumped aboard the route 25 bus and paid a visit to one of the workshop depots. Armed with an ever-reliable tape-measure, note pad, pen and dashing hi-viz vest, Jon met the manager and they reviewed how the maintenance team were struggling with their existing steps. He then began the process to design a bespoke safety step taking into consideration all his conversations with the staff and management on site. His 26 years of knowledge and experience when working alongside typical height issues from previous health and safety cases, enabled him to put forward a clear resolution for the client. It was clear that the maintenance team needed high quality steps, constructed in heavy duty steel sections that would allow them to go about their daily task of looking after the famous London red buses much safer and easier to complete.

safety platform 

Jon was then able to put together the basic specification which included the following:

  • Overall platform length of 2m.
  • Comprising 8 treads including the platform, all covered with a punched steel non-slip tread pattern.
  • Fitted with an immobilising parking brake that can be easily operated from the ground position.
  • Fitted with a tubular double handrail.
  • Mounted on two rubber tyred wheels at the rear and two smaller swivel castors at the front.
  • Fitted with an extended platform 1m long.
  • Fitted with a walk-out gate on the left side, inward opening.
  • Finally of course, they had to be painted. You’ve guessed it … London Bus red!


It always adds an extra buzz around the office when you become involved with such a well-known brand or project. We naturally feel extremely privileged to be involved in a task to help maintain the red ‘master’ of the capital’s roads.


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