Working around electrical hazards is daunting for anyone. Ensuring you have the right equipment to keep you safe can put your mind at ease and help you get the job done without injury. 

For those of you who don't know, fibreglass ladders are recommended for electrical work because they're highly non-conductive, unlike aluminium or steel ladders which are highly conductive. But what does 'non-conductive' mean and how is a fibreglass ladder going to protect you against an electric shock?

A brief science lesson

Electricity always looks for the fastest route from the source to the ground, which usually means travelling through a conductive material. You may have heard the advice "don't be in a swimming pool during a thunderstorm" well this is because lightning is attracted to water because it's highly-conductive.

If you want to prevent electricity from passing through you into the ground when you're on a ladder, it's important you put something insulating as opposed to conductive between you and the ground. Aluminium and steel ladders are often conductive, so they're not the safest choice if you're working near a live wire or electrical cables. 

How do fibreglass ladders protect me?

Fibreglass ladders, however, are insulating which means electricity can't pass through them. By putting a fibreglass ladder between you and the ground, you're making sure that the quickest route to the ground is not through your body! This means that, should the worst happen, you'll be protected and shouldn't get an electric shock.

Choosing a fibreglass ladder

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of fibreglass ladders to help you work around electricity safely. Whether you need a low-level step ladder, an extension ladder for extra reach or a combination for use in hallways and on stairs - we have a fibreglass ladder for you!

Fibreglass Ladders >        Fibreglass Steps >

 If you have any questions about our fibreglass ladders or how they protect against electricity, don't hesitate to call us on 01446 789538. Our team of experts are happy to help you with any queries you may have.

calculate ladder length

If you want to work safely on a ladder, it's important to purchase one that's the right length for the task at hand. While you may think you can look at a particular wall and have a sensible guess at the ladder height you need, you're never going to be 100% accurate. If you want to calculate the right ladder length, follow these steps.

Extension Ladder Length

In order to be used safely, extension ladders need to be leant up against a hard surface with a suitable pitch. If you're working on a platform like a roof, you need to make sure your ladder extends a few feet past the workspace. When calculating the right extension ladder length, it's important to take these extra few feet into account.

Here's an example to show you how to calculate the right ladder height for a 20ft wall.

To work safely, your extension ladder needs to be pitched at a ratio of 4:1. So for every 4 feet up, you need to move the ladder 1 foot out. This is known as the '1 in 4' rule.

So, if you want to work on a 20ft wall, the ladder needs to be moved 5ft out. Propping a ladder against a wall creates a right-angled triangle, with the ladder as the hypotenuse (longest side), so it's time to think back to maths class: to calculate the length of the hypotenuse, we'll need to use Pythagoras's theorem.

Ladder lenght calculation

In case you haven't brushed up on your trigonometry lately, Pythagoras's theorem states that the length of the hypotenuse squared = the triangle's height squared + the triangle's width squared. Let's apply this to the example above...

  • 20 squared is 400
  • 5 squared is 25
  • 400 + 25 = 425
  • The square root of 425 (to two decimal places) is 20.62

This means that your ladder needs to be 20.62 feet long (minimum) to allow for the ladder to be propped up against the wall at a safe angle.

Then, you need to add a few feet so that the extension ladder can extend past the working ledge. So, if you want to climb a 20ft wall, you need a ladder that's approximately 24ft long!

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Step Ladder Length

Calculating the right step ladder length is a little easier because you don't need to take pitch into account. Just bear in mind:

  • The step ladder will need to get you within roughly 4ft of the area you're working on
  • You must not stand on the top three treads of a swingback step ladder (see Step Ladder Do's and Don'ts)

Let's use a 10ft wall for our example - if you want to work on a gutter that's 10ft off the ground, you'll need a step ladder whose platform or topmost safe tread is 6ft off the ground. This allows for the 4ft working space we mentioned before.

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Still not 100% sure how to calculate the ladder length you need? Contact the Ladders UK Direct team for expert advice.

Tool belt

When it comes to staying safe on a ladder - whether you're climbing up it, working on it or climbing down - there are certain things that you need to do to ensure you minimise the risk of injury and accidents so that you are safe at all times.

If you're not aware of these things, you can find out in our blogs here:

How to Climb a Ladder Safely >    How to Use a Step Ladder Safely >

In both of those posts, we talk about the ways that you can stay safe whilst using a ladder and list various points that you can follow. Included here is the way which you carry and hold the specific tools needed to complete the task at hand. Carrying tools whilst ascending and descending a ladder is clearly a safety hazard and should be avoided at all costs unless you have the equipment to do so; such as a tool belt.

Having a tool belt, however, doesn't automatically make carrying tools up a ladder safe. You need to know the correct way to organise and wear it to ensure your tools do not fall whilst climbing up or down the ladder, potentially injuring yourself or others that may be working or moving around you. For those of you who don't know the right way to organise and wear your tool belt, we are here to help! This blog focuses on the correct measures you need to take when carrying tools up a ladder.

So, what are you waiting for? Read on to find out more...

More...

Working out how tall your house is is no easy task. It's not like you can just grab a tape measure and set to work! Eyeballing it won't give you an accurate height either. The last thing you want to do is order a ladder and realise it's a few feet too short or wildly too long. Don't worry we're here to help.

If you live in a single storey house or bungalow then you might already have a ladder that's tall enough to reach the gutters. The average single storey house is only 3.3 metres or 10.8 foot tall, so you have a lot more choice. There's a wide selection of step ladders, combination ladders and extension ladders that will allow you to reach this height with ease.

Now, most people live in two-storey buildings which average a height between 4.7 and 5.8 metres (or 15.5 - 19 foot). As you can imagine, finding a ladder to satisfy this height might be a little more tricky. You'll be pleased to hear that you're in the perfect place to buy one! Here at Ladders UK Direct, we supply a huge range of ladders that can be used to reach the guttering on a two-storey house. For example...

LFI super trade plus triple extension ladder

LFI Super-Trade PLUS Triple Extension Ladder

One of our best selling ladders, the LFI Super Trade PLUS Triple Extension Ladder comes in a range of heights - most of which are suitable for the average two-storey house in the UK. The 3.0m-7.0m is a great 'safe' option, but this ladder also comes in shorter and longer lengths. Browse all sizes here:

LFI Triple Extension >

 

 glass fibre double extension ladder

Glass Fibre Double Extension Ladder

If you're worried about a low hanging electrical wire, we'd recommend choosing a ladder that's tall enough for your two-storey home but that's also non-conductive. This means you'll be perfectly safe if an accident occurs while you're working outside your house. This ladder is fitted with special rung joints and stay brackets to give it extra strength and prevent side sway - perfect if you happen to be doing work on a windy day! 

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Note: If you're planning to do extensive work on the roof of your home, we'd highly recommend investing in a proper roof ladder! These come with a hooked edge that will provide excellent stability while you work on the roof of your two-storey house.

Browse Roof Ladders >

If you're still not sure which ladder is the best choice for your two-storey home, drop us an email. We'll help you find the right ladder for your requirements - sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.

 

can extension ladders be taken apart?

If you own an extension ladder but you need to complete a task at a low height, it can be tempting to think about taking your extension ladder apart to get the job done. However, using the fly section of your extension ladder on its own can create a serious health and safety risk! 

For the most part, extension ladders on have safety steps at the very base of the ladder, this is because the fly section is not intended for use as an individual ladder on its own. Without safety feet, the fly section of the ladder is likely to slip out from underneath you leading to an accidental and potentially life-threatening fall.

Use your ladder as it was intended

We've discussed how to use an extension ladder in lots of detail already here on Ladder UK Direct, but we wanted to remind you of one of the key points. Before you use your ladder you should inspect it to make sure it's fit for use. If it's been dismantled into 2 or 3 separate sections - it's no longer safe for use! Always use your ladder as it was intended to be used to minimise the risk of injury.

What are my other options?

If you need a ladder to complete a job at a low height, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. So, before you start taking your extension ladder apart, take a look at some of these ladders:

  • Single Section LaddersIf you want a single section ladder with suitable safety feet, this is the way to go. Choose either lightweight aluminium or non-conductive fibreglass.
  • Step Ladders - For added stability, or to work in a space without a supporting wall, choose a step ladder. We offer everything from platform steps to tilt and push warehouse steps.
  • Roof Ladders - If you were planning to put a single section of your extension ladder against your house to access the roof, we'd recommend a roof ladder as an alternative. With a hooked end, these ladders provide the ultimate grip while you work on the roof.

To reiterate - you should NEVER take your extension ladders apart. ALWAYS use your ladder in the way it was intended or seek an appropriate alternative! If you have any questions about using your extension ladder, drop us an email - sales@laddersukdirect.co.uk.