Most of us have seen an extension ladder, and many of us own one. We also have heard of accidents occurring when an extension ladder was in use. Usually, the accident takes place as a result of failing to set up the ladder properly. Here are a few tips to help you utilize your extension ladder correctly and without accidents.
One of the first things to understand is how the sections of your extension ladder should be locked into place. Many of the models today are equipped with interlocking side rails that have spring action locks that will automatically set into place when you extend a section of the ladder. The locks will be found on both the left and the right of the junction where the extension is set. It is important to make sure that after extending the sections to the desired height that you check those locks to make sure they are supporting each section properly. As an example, if the left side of a section is locked properly, but the right side is not, the extension ladder will be much less capable of supporting your weight and could lead to a collapse while in use. Take a couple moments to inspect your locks before you ever get on the ladder.
Second, do not extend the ladder beyond the height you need. The whole beauty of an extension ladder is being able to have a stable device that allows you to climb to the work area. Far too many people extend the sections several feet above what is needed and rest the end of the ladder on an area that actually makes it more difficult to do the job without having to stretch and reach. This makes it harder to maintain your balance and could lead to a fall. Keep the ladder at a reasonable length and no more.
Also, pay attention to how you position the extension ladder at ground level. A ladder that is positioned too far out or so close that the angle is very steep is asking for trouble. In either case, you are creating a situation where the weight load, while you are on the ladder, will put additional pressure on the angle and may cause the ladder to slip. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is placing the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet you plan on extending. That will give you just the right amount of angle to keep you relatively safe.
Of course, it is imperative that you set up your extension ladder on as level a spot of ground as possible. The idea is to have the direction of the ladder go up, not up and leaning in one direction or the other. This is especially important if there is not anyone else around to help steady the ladder. Even if the job is only going to take a couple of minutes, don’t try to get by with a ladder that leans a little to the right or left. Find a way to securely level the ladder, then get on with your work.
Extension ladders can make your job a lot easier. Don’t complicate the process by using it improperly. If you would like additional safety tips, check the Internet for the websites of various ladder manufacturers. Many of them offer safety tips that are relevant to all the different types of ladders they offer for sale.