Whether you’re looking for a ladder for trade or some home DIY, there are so many options on the market that it can be hard to find the right one for you. It may not even seem that important that any old ladder will do, but that’s not the case. Making sure you have the right ladder for your job is the safest way to complete any task and reduce the risk of an accident or injury. There are a few things you can consider when looking at the best ladder for you.
This is the first step in finding the ideal ladder for you, and there are many different styles to choose from. Each style serves a purpose and keeps you safe while climbing or standing. If you don’t know the limitations of the ladder you are using or use the wrong type of ladder together, it could lead to serious injury.
When considering the height of a ladder, you should follow certain guidelines. One of the most important things to remember is that the maximum standing height allowed on a ladder is two steps down from the top. In addition, the user can only reach a maximum height of 4 feet higher than the top of the ladder. This is to ensure that you can maintain your balance completely without swaying to one side or falling over. Different ladder types will have their own height guidelines, another example is an extension ladder where the maximum standing level is four steps down from the top.
All ladders are designed to carry a maximum weight. This number is the total weight of the user wearing any tools or materials that can be carried and extra carried. For mechanics, the maximum weight of a ladder may be an important factor if they need to hold a range of tools to get the job done, such as working on a construction site. Whereas if the DIY user is just doing smaller jobs around the house or in the garden, they may not need such a heavy ladder. These two factors should be considered when choosing the right ladder for you.
Before starting a task, it is important to perform a “pre-use” inspection to find any obvious visual defects and to make sure the ladder is safe to use. These checks are particularly applicable to anyone in the industry who regularly uses ladders for work. Pre-use inspections should be performed.
By the user
At the beginning of the working day (or at the start of a DIY task if at home)
After there is an opportunity, for example, for the ladder to be dropped from a dirty area or moved to a clean area (be sure to check the condition or status of the feet).
A checklist to complete includes.
Check the door stile – make sure they are not bent or damaged as the ladder may collapse or bend under any weight.
Check the feet – if they are missing, damaged or worn, the ladder may slip due to lack of grip. It is also important to check the feet when moving from loose/dirty ground (such as excavated soil, loose sand/rock, or a dirty workshop) to a solid, smooth surface (such as paving slabs) to ensure that the actual foot material and not dirt (such as soil, embedded rocks, or debris) is in contact with the ground.
Look at the rungs – if they are bent, worn, loose or missing, the ladder could fail and cause injury to the user.
Check any locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fixtures are worn or damaged, the ladder could collapse. Also, make sure the locking lever is fully engaged to hold the ladder in the correct position.
Check the live ladder platform – if it is buckled or cracked, the ladder may become unstable and collapse.
Check the steps or treads on the live ladder – if they are contaminated, they may be slippery and if the fixtures on the steps are loose, they may collapse.
If you notice any of these problems, do not use the ladder and notify your employer immediately if you are working.