Working at height invariable involves using a ladder. Ladders come in different styles and are designed for different purposes. Although it is still possible to get ladders made from wood, most modern ladders are made from lightweight aluminium. Ladders are also available that have been made from heavy-duty fibreglass. All ladders should conform to the European safety standard EN131. Whatever ladder you are using, safety should be your primary concern and this vital subject is covered in Ladder safety.
Extremely versatile and manoeuvrable the stepladder is a stand-alone ladder used for many DIY projects. The height of a stepladder is defined by the number of rungs or treads it has, with the shortest having 4 or 5 rungs and the tallest usually having 9 rungs.
Designed to be used as a stepladder or a standard ladder. Some combination ladders are supplied with non-slip platforms increasing their versatility further. Only use combination ladders in the configurations suggested by the manufacturer.
Ladders that come in either two or three sections and held together by brackets allowing the sections to be extended. The lower part of the extending sections will have cleats fitted that hook on to the ladder’s rungs. When the work has been completed, the extended sections are retracted.
A ladder in one long section that has no extension or platform facility.
For those with limited storage space the foldaway ladder is ideal. The ladder’s stiles (the vertical uprights) are telescopic allowing it to be folded down to a compact size.
The problems in getting a ladder into position on a pitched roof are remedied by using a roof ladder. Roof ladders are distinguished by the two small wheels which allows you to push the ladder up the roof to the ridge. On reaching the ridge the ladder is turned where the curved top hooks over the ridge, securing the ladder in position.
Loft ladders are fixed at the opening of the loft and pulled down to gain access to the loft. There are two safety standards for loft ladders: BS 7553 Class G for general use and BS 7553 Class H for frequent or heavy-duty use.