Introduction to the Use of Ladders in the Work Place
On average nearly 16% of all work related accidents involving falls occur from falling off a ladder, while it is often the case that such accidents occur due to the carelessness of workers this just means that it is a necessity to correctly choose the type of ladder required for a particular job and to utilize it properly (Naso, 18). First and foremost it must be understood that while there are different variations of ladders utilized for a variety of tasks and purposes all of them have the common attribute of having a duty rating.
A duty rating can be described as the load capacity that a ladder is capable of handling before it exceeds the recommended allowable weight to be positioned on it. It must be noted that the term “load capacity”, refers to the total weight of a person + the weight of the tools, clothing and various other materials that they have with them at the time.
Frank Heaven, a notable critic of the U.K. construction industry states that “as is often the case workers tend to measure load capacities based on their own weight and neglect to take into account the weight of the various tools and supplies that they’re carrying which is one of the primary reasons behind the number of accidents involving ladder failure in various construction sites” (Heaven, 36).
When taking into consideration the number of work place accidents, style selection takes precedent as an important aspect of ladder use in construction sites. The reason behind this is rather simple, specific ladder types work well in certain types of conditions and environments compared to other types of ladders. Step tools, step ladders, platforms or general multi-purpose ladders are usually recommended for indoor use while taller types of step ladders or extension ladders are usually more appropriate for outdoor use.
Proper use of ladders is particular important as seen in the commentary written in the resource journal “Plant Manager” specifically stating that “while specific ladder types are interchangeable depending on the circumstance at hand it is advisable to use a specific type of ladder that is well suited for the job at hand compared to settling for an alternative since this reduces the possibility of accidents from occurring” (Ladders unsuitable for sites, 6).
Duty Ratings and their Uses
As mentioned earlier there are certain types of ladders appropriate for particular circumstance depending on the inherent need, it must also be mentioned though that within the different types of ladders exists a sub-category referring to their duty rating.
This particular classification is important to take note of since it refers to the capacity of the ladder for particular work loads and the type of jobs that they can be used for. Duty rating type 3 ladders for example are household grade ladders meant for domestic household use and not for heavy duty construction work.
These particular ladders can handle work loads of up to 200 pounds and on average can be used for relatively light household duties. Type 2 ladders on the other hand are commercial grade ladders capable of work loads of up to 225 pounds and are the best for light to medium duty work types. This ladder is usually used by painters, handy men and various households that require a ladder type to support a certain amount of weight.
The final rating types for ladders are Type 1 A extra heavy duty ladders that are often seen in various construction sites. These particular type of ladders are meant to take a great deal of punishment from the rigors of construction work and as such are capable of handling work loads of up to 300 pounds which supports not only the weight of the construction worker but the equipment they carry as well.
The reason behind these particular duty ratings is to help people decide on what particular type of ladders would be best utilized for particular work situations. While Type 1 A ladders can be used for home use Type 3 ladders cannot be used in the construction industry due to their relatively fragile nature and the fact that they cannot support a great deal of weight.
In relation to this, investigative writer Jennifer Yario even states that “while some construction companies attempt to use lesser ladder types in various construction projects due to their relatively lower cost compared to the Type 1A ladder the fact remains that their use often results in an increase in fall related accidents since those particular ladders were never meant to take the rigors of construction work” (Yario, 80).
From this short presentation I hope that I have imparted enough information regarding the different types of ladders and their uses. If you ever find yourself in a situation where a ladder needs to be used in a particular project I would seriously suggest that you take what I’ve said into consideration. Utilizing the proper type of ladder can make the difference between proper safety and an accident waiting to happen and as such the task of choosing one should not be taken lightly.
Heaven, Frank. “Construction Space.” Contract Journal 448.6736 (2009): 36. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. Web. 5 June 2011.
“Ladders unsuitable for sites.” PMJ: Plant Managers Journal 31.5 (2004): 6. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. Web. 5 June 2011.
Naso, Markisan. “Number of fatal falls climb in 2004.” Safety & Health 172.5 (2005): 18. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 5 June 2011.
Yario, Jennifer. “Falls, scaffolds, ladders lead building construction group violations.” Safety & Health 180.3 (2009): 80. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Web. 5 June 2011.