How can I keep my tools safe when pruning and training large wall shrubs? I work from a scaffolding platform and ladder.

A: You need to be particularly careful when undertaking work from ladders and platforms, whether mobile or static. And that does not just mean keeping yourself safe, but also looking out for those on the ground. Dropping secateurs or saws from a height is frustrating - more importantly, it is dangerous.

Falling tools can cause injury to people and/or property below and the tools themselves can be damaged if they land on a hard surface. Tree surgeons are used to working at height and have the equipment - lanyards and strops - to keep their tools tethered.

The CEuk Phat Strop, from Cutting-Edge UK, is ideal for keeping handsaws and secateurs safe while working at height. It is a dual-action karabiner and lanyard attachment that can be used with tools weighing up to 1.25kg.

The karabiner fits through the scabbard/tool holster and directly onto a belt or harness. The cord loop can be threaded through the eye of the tool or fixed around the tool handle. A heavy-duty 1-1.4m extension lanyard gives freedom of movement.

Phat Strop came to life after Cutting-Edge UK added the saw-to-scabbard locking mechanism feature to its handsaw range. Marketing and operations director Christopher Gottfried says: "Professional arborists told us they had experienced the frustration of dropping their handsaws from height, either out of their sheath or by hand.

"Every commercial user working with tools from any height or work platform above 2.5m is recommended to have their tools tethered to them to comply with health and safety general duties of care".

You can buy the Phat Strop online for £12.50 including VAT. Visit for details. You might also take a look at the company's range of handsaws. These include high-carbon tool steel Trojan straight and curved scabbard saws and a multipurpose folding saw. The range of lightweight saw and lopper pole pruners may help you to keep your feet on the ground.

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