How to Properly Choose and Use a Ladder

Ladders are incredibly important and useful tools. They come in a variety of different makes and models, ranging from heavy duty aluminum ladders that can extend several feet into the air, to small wooden step ladders. It is very important, however, that you gain an understanding of which types of ladders exist, so that you can choose the one that suits your particular needs. Additionally, you need to know how to use it properly, so that you are always safe.

What Is a Ladder?

Very simply put, a ladder is a device with vertical or inclined runs that you can use to go up a height. Two main types of ladders exist, being:

  1. Rigid ladders, which you balance against vertical surfaces in order to climb up.
  2. Rope ladders, which you hand from the top of a structure in order to climb down.

Ladders can also be fixed to a building, or they can be fully portable. They are made in a variety of different materials, such as fiberglass, aluminum, or wood. The material that you choose depends on a variety of different factors. For instance, if you work with electricity, you must choose a fiberglass ladder, because they do not conduct electricity. If you’re not very strong, then an aluminum ladder may be right for you, because it is a lot lighter.

Types of Portable Ladders

Most ladders are portable, and they come in three main types:

  1. Type I, which has a maximum load of 250 pounds and is used in industrial locations.
  2. Type II, which has a maximum load of 225 pounds and is used for medium duty, commercial jobs.
  3. Type III, which has a maximum load of 200 pounds and is a light duty ladder.

How to Use Ladders

Ladders are used to work up a height, which makes them dangerous by definition. Hence, you need to know what to do to make sure you are safe. This includes:

  1. Making sure that the ladder is the right kind for the job you want to do.
  2. Checking the ladder for defects, such as cracks or broken joints.
  3. Making sure that you have a foot of distance from the wall for every four foot in height. The 1:4 ratio is necessary in order to make sure that the ladder is stable at all times.
  4. Always facing the ladder when you ascend or descend it, rather than having your back to it.
  5. Ensuring that the feet of the ladder are both stable and secure on the ground.
  6. Never climbing past the second rung from the top, or the third rung if you use a straight or extension ladder.
  7. Never use aluminum ladders if you intend to work with electricity. Instead, you should choose a fiberglass ladder, or a wooden one if you have to.
  8. Making sure that you put the ladder away safely when you have finished using it. This will avoid you and others from having an accident.

 

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