How to Choose Right Ladder for Safe Work + Safety Tips

Before you go ahead and buy the most stylish-looking ladder, consider what use you’ll be putting it to. A step-ladder or a multipurpose ladder is more than enough for common household needs. Whereas repairing work or construction work needs a properly articulated ladder. 

In an average standard household, using a ladder is pretty much a very common sight. Whether you’re up on the roof fixing the pipes, or whether you simply need to reach the top shelf for something, ladders can be pretty handy. Which is all the more reason why you should know how to choose the right ladder for safe work!

When buying a ladder, you need to keep five factors in mind. Let’s look at each one of them in detail.

How To Choose Right Ladder For Safe Work: Things To Consider

  • Ladder Type

Before you go ahead and buy the most stylish-looking ladder, consider what use you’ll be putting it to. A step-ladder or a multipurpose ladder is more than enough for common household needs. Whereas repairing work or construction work needs a properly articulated ladder.

You may also just choose to buy a simple step stool or a platform ladder for DIY paint jobs or the top shelves of your house.

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Bellow are the six major types of ladders:

  • Step Ladders

Step ladders are single-section ladders that have a fixed length and stabilizing legs for self-sufficient use.

  • Step Stools

Step stools are small multipurpose platform ladders that are used for when you need to reach a small height. They’re sturdy, and hold up the weight of the person well.

  • Straight Ladders

Straight ladders are single structure ladders with fixed length that you can lean on the surface of the building.

  • Extension Ladders

Extension ladders are straight ladders with a fixed base structure and an adjustable upper length (up to 60 feet).

  • Platform Ladders

Platform ladders are A-frame ladders with a platform to step on and a handrail for support.

  • Multi-function ladders

A multi-function ladder is a cross between an extension ladder and a step ladder. It uses lockable hinges, and can be extended for additional height. A multi-functional ladder can be used as a step ladder, an A-section ladder, or even an extension ladder!

  • Ladder Height

While it is almost always neglected, finding the right height for your ladder is very important. My best friend used to think that the taller the ladder height. But that’s not always the case. If you’re not going to use up the ladder height, it’s pretty much a waste of your money and your space. Ideally, you should buy a ladder that is only slightly taller than the height you’ll want to climb.

If you’re still confused about what ladder height is right for you, check out this guide on choosing the right ladder height and more!

  • Ladder Weight

It goes without saying, buying the most heavy-duty ladder out there isn’t really the goal here. Especially if you just want an average household ladder! Not only will you be wasting your money but it won’t really help you to buy a heavy-duty ladder for the top shelves of your home.

Ideally, each ladder comes with different duty ratings. These ratings take into account the person who will be mounting the ladder, and the tools or equipment he will be carrying along with him. A standard Type I ladder with 250 pounds of weight capacity should be sufficient for most household and light-weight outdoor jobs.

If your requirements ask for a lighter or tougher ladder, you can choose accordingly!

  • Ladder Safety

Did you know that according to WHO, the United States leads the number of ladder-related emergency room visits every year by almost 1 lakh? And each year, more than 300 people die from ladder falls! That’s a big number for something that can be avoided so easily.

Ladder safety is a very important thing to consider when purchasing a new ladder. The most important thing to check for is a good quality ladder. Take a trial-run, check for wobbly legs or uneven height. Make sure you read the manual before putting your ladder to any use and do not modify the ladder in any way other than what the manufacturers did.

Ladder safety should be given utmost importance and ladder training should be employed in all workplaces and at homes.

  • Mobility and Storage

Ladder mobility is something many people should consider, especially when looking for a home ladder. It is important to consider how you’ll be carrying the ladder around, and how you’ll be storing it.Overlapping compact ladders are the easiest choice for when you want a tall ladder that has an easy storage. Also consider how comfortable the ladder feels for your desired work. You don’t wanna try something that doesn’t come naturally to you, especially when it comes to ladder safety.

Safety Tips For Safe Ladder Work

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  • The first and most important thing to keep in mind is to follow the ‘4 to 1’ ladder rule. The base of the ladder should always be placed at a distance of 1 foot from the building, for every four foot of height against the building.
  • When working on a building or the roof, never overreach. Get down and move your ladder to your desired spot.
  • Remember to maintain three points of contact when working with a ladder. You should have both hands and one feet in contact with the ladder, or vice versa when working.
  • Avoid standing on the very last step of your ladder, especially extension ladders. As a general rule, your ladder height should be three foot higher than your work-station height.
  • If you’re working at a very large height, tie the top ends of the ladder at support points.
  • OSHA recommends people working about the height of 10 feet to wear safety helmets, harnesses, and belts.
  • Don’t use the ladder for work that is not meant for that ladder. For instance, don’t use a step ladder and a straight ladder or vice versa.
  • Finally, regularly check ladders for defects and replace any faulty ladders.

Final Thoughts

The most important part of any work that involves a ladder or working at tall heights is to follow all the necessary precautionary and safety measures.So whether you want to purchase a small step stool for home use, or a large ladder for industrial use, it is important to do prior research and find out the best fit.

We hope that this blog helped you in the process. Should you have any further doubts, feel free to ask away!

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