Buying, hiring or borrowing - What to look for:
All ladders should meet the required British or European standards.
Is it strong enough?
New ladders are generally marked according to their safe working load. This classification however, can vary slightly in the values given, and has caused confusion. The variation is due to the different way in which the values for safe working loads are expressed. In the British Standard it is “Duty rating” and have been arrived at by taking into account the general conditions and probably frequency of use for each type. The European Standard uses “Maximum static vertical load”. To help clarify this, we have given both sets of figures. British Standard ladders to either BS 2037 (Aluminium) or BS 1129 (Wood).
(Industrial) Duty rating 130kg (20 stone) = Maximum vertical static load 175kg.
(Domestic) Duty rating 95kg (15 stone) = Maximum vertical static load 125kg.
European Standard ladders to BS/EN 131 (All types).
Duty rating 115kg (18stone) = Maximum vertical static load 150kg.
Is it long enough?The overall length of a ladder is not the same as its usable length: allow one metre of ladder length above the highest rung you use. Never stand on the top three rungs.
Run this quick check on any ladder you are thinking of buying, hiring or using.
Ladders should never be painted, as this could hide dangerous defects from view. A wooden ladder can be protected with clear varnish or transparent rot-proofer.
No stiles damaged or bent
Stiles are the outside uprights on a ladder.
No warping or splitting (wood)
No corrosion (metal)
No sharp edges or dents (metal)
No rungs bent (metal)
Caps/rubber fittings OK
Damaged ladders need professional repairing - or replacing.
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