Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but the ladder can be very dangerous, especially when you don’t use them properly. The study released by CDC founds that “falls remain a leading cause of unintentional injury mortality nationwide, and 43 percent of fatal falls in the last decade have involved a ladder.” Therefore exist a list of written and unwritten rules that must be obeyed if you want to use a ladder in the best possible way and to keep safe at the same time. One is the manufacturer’s manual and others involve some logic. Let’s read about it a little.
Choose what you need
When you plan to buy or build stepladder, you will choose, of course, by your needs and some other factors.
How tall they are, how far you can reach on them, how much weight they can hold, their stability, from which material they are made and others and you must include them all if you want to make the right choice, but you will surely find proper one between all existing types of stepladders. Stepladders and stepstools range from small step stools to tall that allow you to reach something up to 12 feet higher than your head. If you are average tall and you need to change a lightbulb on a typical 8-foot ceiling, a simple one-step step stool should be perfect for you.
They are stable, easy to use, and to store when not in use. For jobs where you need need to reach something on a significant height, you will need an 8-12 foot stepladder to safely reach the height that job requires.
Between these two, there is a wide array of step ladders of all shapes, materials, and designs.
When we talk about grades of a stepladder, it has more to do with the materials used in making the ladder and their quality and quality of construction, than how much weight the step ladder can hold safely (but that also always counts in, of course!)
A cheap aluminum ladder can never be as rugged and stable as high quality made step ladder from fiberglass with strong hinges and other quality parts.
The decision about which is right for you will mostly depend on how you intend to use it. Weight capacity is a very important factor to consider, why it is important to use enough sturdy ladder with the adequate weight capacity. Typically you can find information on how much weight a particular step ladder is able to support on the sticker attached to ladders.
Be sure and get one well above your weight combined with the equipment you might have with you to ensure it is a safe ladder for you to use and to avoid any possibility for injury.
Pisces of advice for safer use
As always – it’s all about safety!
- You should first check the load rating that is marked on the stepladder.
- The rating will show you maximum weight allowed on the stepladder, and it should cover the person’s weight plus the weight of tools that will be eventually used.
- Usually, standards allow weights from 200 lbs for light-duty household stepladder up to 375 lbs for special duty stepladder for industrial and commercial use.
- Use a stepladder that is about 3ft shorter than the highest point you have to reach. This gives a wider, more stable base and places shelf at a convenient working height.
- Always check all four stepladder feet are in contact with the ground and the steps are level;
- Only carry light materials and tools and don’t overreach. Don’t stand and work on the top three steps, including a step forming the very top of the stepladder unless there is a suitable handhold.
- Ensure any locking devices are engaged. Try to position the stepladder to face the work activity and not side-on.
- Try to avoid work that imposes a side loading, such as side-on drilling through solid materials (bricks or concrete, for example) and where side-on loadings can’t be avoided. You should prevent the steps from tipping over.
- Otherwise, use a more suitable solution to access equipment.
- There are three points of contact at the working position.
- Always keep on the mind – two feet and one hand or when you need to use both hands, two feet, and the body supported by the stepladder.
- Also, when climbing a ladder and/or working from it, keep your center of gravity between the side rails.
- Overextending to one side of the ladder could cause it to shift and fall.
What should I avoid when using the stepladder
You should always move safely up and down from the stepladder. Also, you should be careful while you’re on it.
- Avoid overreach and move a stepladder when you need it.
- Do not try to walk a step ladder when standing on it.
- Do not overload. Step ladders are meant for one person and never stand, climb, or sit on the step ladder top or pail shelf.
- One of the most frequent mistakes is to keep your ladder folded and lean it against a surface to gain access to the work. Anytime you use a stepladder, it must be fully opened and locked into place.
- Never use them as a brace as a support for a work platform or plank.
- Avoid working on a stepladder more than 30 minutes at a time, and if work often requires to have both hands free, get someone to assist you.
- Watch for people working under or around the ladder.
- If you are doing electrical work, use a ladder made out of non-conductive material.
- Always wear proper footwear with good tread when climbing.
- If something wasn’t clear from the text above, we should repeat it again – inspection and careful use.
- You should inspect your ladder every single time you intended to use it.
We hope our pieces of advice and tips will help you, so you can find the best step ladder which will fit best to your needs.