Ladders are things we all know and use, but do we ever really stop to think about what they are and what they do? Did you know, for instance, that ladders can vary depending on their steps, also known as rungs? Some are inclined, for instance, whereas others are vertical. Then, there are two types of ladders. Firstly, there are the rigid models that you can lean against some sort of vertical surface. Some have their own support system, like step ladders. The second type is the rope ladder, which you attach to the top of something in order to climb down. Rigid ladders, meanwhile, can be either fixed or they can be portable.
Another key difference between ladders is what they are made. Heavy duty aluminum ladders can be used in a range of specific industries and are less commonly found in residential properties. In domestic homes, it is more common to find regular aluminum ladders, or even wooden ones. One of the problems with aluminum models is that they conduct electricity, which is why they are never used by those who work near or with electric wires. Instead, they use fiberglass ladders.
Types of Portable Ladders
Looking first at the types of portable ladders, which are the most common ones, you will usually find:
- Type I, which are for industrial use. They can carry a maximum of 250 pounds, making them perfect for heavy duty jobs.
- Type II, which is perfect for commercial use. They can carry up to 225 pounds, which is still a significant amount.
- Type III, which is the household version. It is a light duty ladder that can carry up to 200 pounds.
How to Use a Ladder
There are a few things to think about when it comes to using ladders:
- Is the ladder suitable for what you want to use it for?
- Is the ladder in good condition? Check the joints, bolts, rungs, steps, and every other piece.
- Make sure the 1:4 ratio is maintained at all times. This means that you have to be one foot away from the wall for every four feet in height you want to climb.
- Always face the ladder when you descend or ascend it.
- Make sure the ladder is completely stable on the ground.
- Do not go past the second run from the top on a step ladder, or past the third run from the top on an extension ladder. You will struggle to keep your balance and the ladder won’t be able to hold your weight.
- Remember that both wood and aluminum are conductors so should not be used near electric wires. Instead, use a fiberglass model.
- Once you have completed working with the ladder, put it away. It should never be left unattended.
- Make sure you do not exceed the maximum weight. The weight the ladder can hold includes yourself, your clothing, and whatever items you are carrying.
- If in doubt, don’t climb it.