Ladders are an essential tool in construction projects worldwide. Unfortunately, safety isn’t always a major consideration when it comes to their use, but it should be. From selecting your ladder material to proper usage, we have practical tips and advice to safeguard you from danger.
Choosing a ladder seems like a relatively simple task, but your ladder needs must be evaluated before making a final selection. The three most common ladder materials are aluminum, wood, and fiberglass, and each type has its own benefits and disadvantages. Aluminum is the most durable, but since it conducts electricity it should not be used for electrical work. Unlike aluminum, wood is nonconductive, but prone to rotting. If you have time to conduct maintenance, wood can be protected from rot by coating it with linseed oil or a clear solvent. Another option is fiberglass. Fiberglass ladders are durable and nonconductive, yet are pricier than wood and aluminum. Depending on the task, there is a ladder to suit every need.
The next step to achieving safety is to store your ladder properly. Correct ladder storage requires shelter from the elements, excessive heat, moisture, and corrosive substances. In order to prevent sagging, be sure to hang your ladder horizontally on a rack with support points every 6’ (2 meters). Proper storage can extend your ladder’s life and offer outstanding performance.
Now that you have brought your ideal ladder home and carefully stored it, there are several important rules to follow when it comes to using a ladder safely. Before you begin to climb the ladder, a visual inspection for cracks and broken joints needs to be conducted. Secondly, when placing your ladder, the base should extend one foot out from the wall for every 4’ of length. The goal is to create a desirable 75° angle for appropriate support. Additionally, although it may seem obvious, no one should ever stand above the indicated safe point. Another equally dangerous manoeuver is to straddle the ladder with one foot on a rung and the other foot on the paint tray. And, if you are using a stepladder one of the easiest ways to lose balance is to stand on the top cap. By following these basic instructions, you can lessen risks associated with ladder usage.