If you need to gain access to an area that you cannot otherwise reach, ladders, in their various forms are the most versatile type of equipment used. When using a ladder, it is essential to verify that the equipment is set up safely, and used in the correct way to avoid accidents and possible injury. When selecting and purchasing a ladder verify that it meets all current safety standards. Verify the maximum load (weight) that it can support before using the ladder. Store all ladders horizontally and out of reach of small children and possible burglars. Ladders stored in an area where anyone has easy access to them, may tempt a possible burglar. There are different kinds of ladders on the market for purchase.
A stepladder should be in every household because of its versatility and portability. Verify that your stepladder is sturdy before using it. Open it to its full extent for safe use, and never stand on the top two steps. Standing on the top two steps is not recommended and may cause you to fall or the ladder to collapse.
On a combination ladder, the bottom section can clip onto the top section. A combination ladder can be used as a stepladder or as a conventional ladder. The use of a combination ladder depends on how you set it up. Designs of combination ladders vary – follow the manufacturer’s directions for each type of use.
Extension ladders are large ladders that have two or three sections. The sections are retracted for storing or moving them. Extension ladders have brackets attached to each ladder section allowing the sections to slide over each other up to its extended position. Cleats located on the lower level of the upper section secure the ladder to its extended position.
Folding ladders fold down into a very small compact area. Whatever the design or manufacturer of a folding ladder, the aim is to produce a ladder that is space saving when stored.
Safe Ladder Use
Never use a ladder near overhead electrical wires or equipment. Never use a ladder in front of a doorway unless someone else guards the doorway. If you need to position a ladder against a wall, make sure that the height of the top of the ladder is four times the distance between the wall and the ladders base. Check your ladder for an angle guide printed on the side to help with this. Check your ladder thoroughly before you use it; ensure that there are no cracks or breaks in it. If using a wooden ladder, check to make sure there is no rotten wood. On metal ladders, check to verify the ladder does not have any corrosion. NEVER paint a ladder as paint may hide damage to its structure. Always check ladder feet before use. Metal ladders should have rubber, slip-resistant feet.