CLIMBING the ladder at work means something different today, compared to 15 years ago.

It used to be normal to clamber up to change a light bulb or clean a window.

But thanks to health and safety regulations, ladders are all-but banned in the workplace and that’s proving good for one Oxford firm.

Cowley-based 2Cousins Powered Access reports demand for the cherry-picker and boom-lifts it hires out is at an all-time high.

It has customers all over the country, with local ones including Cowley Carnival and the BMW Mini plant.

Managing director Jason Prisley said: “Cherry pickers and boom lifts are used for anything where it’s deemed a bit risky.”

The equipment is used by construction, warehouse and factory workers plus electricians, painter-decorators and window cleaners.

Mr Prisley added: “In the old days, you’d see people climbing up the outside of buildings and construction workers sitting astride steel girders 30 feet up.

“If that happened now, they’d be arrested and the company closed down for allowing it.”

Tree surgeons are also among the firm’s best customers.

“They used to just climb the trees to do the job but nowadays that’s frowned on, too,” Mr Prisley pointed out.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, falls from height are still one of the biggest causes of workplace deaths and major injuries.

HSE rules say employers, or building owners who contract someone, must use “the right type of equipment for working at height”.

2Cousins also has a few glamorous jobs, such as supplying equipment and an operator to the crew filming Chipping Norton resident Jeremy Clarkson last year for his new amazon series The Grand Tour.

And the firm, which employs 20 workers at its Garsington Road base, has just become the first in the world to buy a scissor lift from JCB.

Mr Prisley says the fact the construction firm, known for its yellow diggers, has moved into the market shows how fast it is growing.

The JCB scissor lift cost £8,000 but Mr Prisley is confident it will make a good return on investment.

Single pieces of kit cost from £5,000 to £200,000 and can reach heights of up to 185 feet.

Typically, these are hired out for a week and delivered on 2Cousin’s fleet of lorries.

The first customer to try out the scissor lift was 2Cousins’ corporate mascot, a mannequin named Duncan who has been a familiar sight to passers-by since the 1990s.

Mr Prisley added: “We asked Duncan what he thought about our new piece of kit but there was no comment.”