Most people who depend on step ladders for their daily work might take them for granted, some others might simply neglect the fact that they could cause accidents if handled carelessly. This is true, step ladders have become a common commercial or household accessory these days, however, like all the other ladders they also are dangerous if handled carelessly. In this article, we would provide some facts and details on how to use a step ladder most efficiently and how to avoid any accidents.
While step ladders are not so tall, most people assume them to be the least dangerous, this assumption is wrong. Step ladders are commonly used in confined spaces due to their design, fall from them could land the user on a sharp edge of the desk, chair, cupboard, table, etc. Follow the instructions mentioned below carefully.
- There are 13 different types of ladders available on the market today, you should check each type of ladder and purchase an appropriate ladder. Consider purchasing a step ladder only if your requirement demands a step ladder.
- Once you have decided to purchase a step ladder, you must consider the load. Each type of step ladder is designed to handle a specific maximum load, consider this factor before purchasing one.
- Never stand on the top two steps of the step ladder. If your work demands you to stand on the top two steps of the step ladder, consider, using a taller ladder. Working while standing on the top two steps of a step ladder is a dangerous thing to do. Never consider such a task.
- If you already have a step ladder you would know how to open the ladder and lock it for mounting. Lock the step ladder properly. Never try to mess with the locks or try to mount it without properly locking it.
- All four legs of the step ladder should touch the floor. We have seen some people neglecting the “even footing” factor. Step ladders could be dangerous if all the four legs are not at even footing.
- There is a lot of difference between a regular straight ladder and a step ladder. Never use a step ladder as an alternative to a straight ladder. The legs of a step ladder are not as strong as that of straight ladders. If you put too much load on the foot of the step ladder, it is likely to bend or break.
- Step ladders are comparatively lightweight and easy to move around. Therefore, there are scenarios where you have to bend excessively to reach a specific spot, you need to get down from the ladder and reposition it to reach it without bending over. Remember, unlike straight ladders a step ladder does not have steps that you can hold on to. If you lose your balance while bending, you will fall as you having nothing to hold on to.
- Do not wear shoes/chappals/sandals while climbing a step ladder. A step ladder might come with steps that offer maximum grip, however, it is always best recommended not to climb the ladder wearing shoes, chappals, or sandals.
- Most step ladders available on the market come made of aluminum, it is best recommended not to use aluminum ladders for any electrical work.
- Never stand on a step ladder with your back to the rungs. A step ladder is not decided for such stunts. Face the ladder and the rungs always while using the ladder.
- Before using a step ladder, inspect them thoroughly. Unlike other types of ladders, step ladders are made joining several parts, if the parts are lost or if the steps are cracked, it could mean an overall fall of ladders integrity. If you find any such issues, try to fix it before using it.
- Repair a step ladder only if the issue is small, do not try to repair and use a step ladder that is too old and too damaged to use. Consider retiring such step ladders and purchasing a new one.
- Do not climb a step ladder if you are feeling dizzy or if you are under alcohol influence. Remember, there are more than 300 to 500 deaths reported around the world every year related to the step ladder. Most of them either careless or under the influence of alcohol.
Step ladder types based on load –
- Industrial step ladder, type IA – 300 lbs. max
- Industrial step ladder, type IAA – 375 lbs. max
- Commercial step ladder, type II – 225 lbs. max
- Household step ladder, type III – 200 lbs. max
Consider purchasing a step ladder based on the load information mentioned above.
How to mount the step ladder and climb it in the right way –
Step 1: Open the step ladder, fully open the base.
Step 2: Place the ladder on level ground in such a way that all the four legs of the ladder touch the ground.
Step 3: Now, lock the spreaders in the right way, check twice if the spreaders are locked in the right way and it is tight.
Step 4: Mount the ladder from the middle and not in the sideways or at an angle.
Step 5: Check the step ladder, see if there is any shake or uneven footing.
Step 6: Now, start climbing the ladder, remember to always face the ladder while climbing, maintain a firm hold on the ladder.
Step 7: Do not carry any tools or accessories in hand while climbing a step ladder, try to arrange tools and accessories in a pouch.
Step 8: Stop climbing as soon as you reach the third last step. Consider working from the third to the last step. Never climb above it and consider working from there.
Step ladders as already mentioned above are not designed for heavy-duty jobs, if you try to overreach or mount the ladder on an uneven surface, you should expect a mishap. Therefore, you must follow every instruction mentioned above.