Of course we all know that aluminium is the staple material for ladders unless you work around electricity in which case you may well use a fibreglass ladder.
Wooden ladders are now firmly in the past – or so we thought until we spotted this relic on the internet – apparently spotted in Lithuania. Here it seems that wood and nails are not wasted and are constructed into ladders such as this! Whilst the picture might look quaint with a nice feeling of mountains and chalets to it, the message behind it is quite dangerous.
Wooden ladders as a rule are not safe
Firstly – wooden ladders are not safe ladders. Whilst it would be very unusual indeed to see a home crafted ladder in the UK, there are still wooden ladders in peoples garages to this day. At one time, wooden ladders were the norm, but have long been redundant following the superiority of aluminium.
Wooden ladders are dangerous:
- Wood can split, buckle and cause injuries such as splinters
- The rungs can wear quickly and snap
- No grip underfoot on the rungs
- Not fire proof
- No rubber feet
In addition to the physical dangers present, wooden ladders do not carry any form of certification which means that they’re not safe to use even for DIY tasks. A ladder should never be purchased without any form of certification such an EN131 which is European Trade/DIY standard. BS2037 is the Industrial Standard to look for if you plan to use your ladders to carry out your job. Never accept anything other than these approved UK safety standards. Not every country is as stringent in safety standards as the UK.
We mentioned that wood as a rule is not safe – the exception to this is if you are purchasing a wooden ladder which meets the tough safety standards. One such example is our wooden single section/pole ladders. Normally ladders like these are used on scaffolding or other industrial applications, naturally they meet the Industrial standard of certification as they toughened steel rods under each rung as well as two coats of preservative so the ladder can withstand the harshest of environments.
If you have a wooden ladder from days gone by still in your possession, it may be time to retire it to decorative use only
Make sure your ladder is long enough for the job
Here at BPS Access Solutions, we find ourselves repeating this essential safety advice quite often. This is quite possibly one area where we see on countless occasions risks being taken on ladders which are not quite long enough for the job.
In the photo it can be clearly seen that the ladder has received a ‘makeshift’ addition of another ladder which turns in into a form of extension ladder if you like. It goes without saying that this practice is extremely dangerous and should never be repeated with any of your own ladders! The bottom ladder addition appears to be of a lesser quality of wood and is likely to snap under the weight when the ladder is in use. This could cause a fatal or serious injury.
Again in the UK, this practice is thankfully rare. However we receive many photos from our loyal fans of crazy people using ladders in the most dangerous of ways! From using a multi purpose ladder pitched from a porch roof in order to reach the roof to people seen over leaning excessively from ladders when carrying out work on their home such as window cleaning and gutter clearance.
It is not unusual to spot people stacking pallets and boxes too to reach a higher point with a ladder that is simply too short for the job. DIY enthusiasts are often the culprits when it comes to using ladders in a dangerous way. Quite possibly this is because they are less familiar in their use and won’t in general have received training on how to use a ladder safely.
Will the house painting get finished?
It appears that the boarding of the chalet in the photo is being painted….Who fancies a bet that that ladder will be extended a second time in order to reach the pitch in the roof!?
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