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Ladders are used in most construction work. They provide us with a means of reaching locations too high to reach otherwise. They allow us to go down into trenches and excavations easily, and ladders help us gain access to the upper floors- and roofs of buildings. Let's define a ladder as a very useful appliance consisting of two side rails joined at regular intervals by cross-pieces called steps, rungs or cleats, on which a person may step when ascending or descending from a given level. In other words it's two pieces of lumber with rungs attached used to climb up and down.

Are you familiar with the various types of ladders? There are Fixed Ladders, Extension Ladders, and Step Ladders. These ladders can be made of aluminum, wood, metal, plastic or fiberglass. Fixed Ladders are attached to a structure and not adjustable in length. An Extension Ladder is a non-self supporting, portable ladder that is adjustable in length. Then there are Step Ladders which are self supporting portable ladders that are not adjustable in length. When selecting a ladder you should consider the capacity of the ladder, its height and footing requirements, and whether it will be used inside or outside.

Check the rungs on fixed ladders for damage and be sure they are Securely attached before you climb.

When you need an extension ladder, inspect it for defects before using it, and be sure to look for overhead hazards that may interfere with the set-up. Electrical Wires and ladders don't mix! Extend the ladder to the required height and engage the extension hooks. Remember the 1 to 4 rule - the base of the ladder should be 1' away from the wall or support for every 4' of vertical extension (an angle of approximately 75 degrees). When using the ladder to access an upper level, be sure the ladder extends 36' above the landing. Secure the ladder by tying it off to prevent shifting.

When using a step ladder inspect the ladder for defects, broken rails, and split steps, and ensure that the spreader lock works property. Place the ladder on solid ground and secure the spreader lock. Fully extend and expand A-frame legs. Never stand on the top two steps; if you need to reach higher, get a larger ladder.

Never paint wooden ladders. Paint hides defects and hinders inspection.