How to Buy the Best Ladder for the Job - Part 1
By: The Working Man
When a job requires that you use a ladder, there is no safe
substitute. And if you don't use the correct ladder for the job,
you are still in danger of injury. The U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission estimated that 65,000 people require emergency
room treatment each year due to accidents involving ladders.
Consequently, there are some basic criteria that you should
follow when you go to buy a ladder.
1. For what type of jobs will the ladder
be used? Straight
ladders, extension ladders, step ladders and other specialized
ladders are all best used for particular purposes.
If you will need to climb to varying heights, an extension ladder
will probably be your best bet. For stable climbs at a low level
such as for indoor painting, you may prefer a step ladder and
Be sure that the ladder you choose is tall enough that you won't
ever have to step on the top three rungs of a straight or
extension ladder or the top rung or top of a stepladder. Also be
sure that you figure the height by how the ladder will be set up.
The usable height may be lower than the actual length.
Our articles on the various types of ladders and their uses will
give you more detailed information on this.
2. What is the weight allowance that will
be needed for the
ladder? For example, will the worker simply climb the ladder
occasionally to do short term work, or will heavy supplies be
continually carried up and down the ladder?
A common household Type III ladder is okay for light duty. They
usually have a maximum recommended load of two hundred pounds
total. Any more than that is risky.
If you will be using the ladder regularly in your work, get a
Type II medium duty (usually rated at two hundred twenty-five
pounds) or a Type III heavy duty ladder rated for two hundred and
fifty pounds. The ladders will usually have their rating marked
More in Part 2...
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