In their rawest forms, ladders are a set of steps (or rungs) joined together by a pole on either side. For centuries, ladders have been a simple yet effective climbing tool, used all over the world in construction, agriculture and around the home. There are a lot of things that wouldn't have existed if it wasn't for the humble ladder, so today we're going to take a deep dive into the history of ladders. If you want to join us for a trip back in time, just keep reading!

Ladders date back such a long time that it's hard to pinpoint the exact time or century that they were invented. That being said, the earliest evidence of ladders that we have can be found in the Spider Caves in Valencia, Spain. Here, you will find a painting of a ladder that's been etched on to the Mesolithic rock for over 10,000 years! The ladder in question appears to be flexible, made of tightly bound grass or plant material, and is being used by two men to access a honeybee nest to collect honey. 

pyramids

While 10,000 years may seem like a long time to us, there's a lot of research that suggests ladders have been used for much longer than this. Lots of researchers suggest that both ancient Hebrew and Egyptian people will have used ladders to carry out a range of different tasks. Without them, we may not have some of the beautiful ancient architecture, like the Pyramids, that we are able to study today. Ladders were even mentioned in the Bible by Jacob, who dreamt of a ladder that reached from earth to Heaven. 

Skipping forwards a few thousand years, and we can see when the first patent for a folding wooden step ladder came into existence. This patent was obtained by an American man called John H. Balsley on the 7th January 1862. Thanks to Mr Balsley, foldable ladders which could be easily transported from place to place became widely available. This made it much easier for people to pack up their height access equipment and travel with it.

 heavy duty extension ladder

For a long time, the only ladders that people could build or buy were made of natural materials like wood. Widespread use of aluminium ladders didn't happen until the early 19th century. Prior to this, there was no way for ladder manufacturers of extracting enough aluminium out of the ground! For a long time, aluminium was higher in value than gold, but nowadays, aluminium ladders are easy to get hold of and won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Modern-Day Ladders

Nowadays, you can buy ladders of all different shapes, sizes and materials. Whether you need a simple wooden ladder or a sophisticated, non-conductive glass-fibre ladder, there'll be something on the modern-day market to suit your needs. 

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer all kinds of ladders that are suitable for both trade and domestic jobs. If you've been living in the past and using a simple wooden ladder, it might be time to drag yourself into the 21st century and invest in a lightweight, long-lasting ladder that you can rely on. Don't worry, you won't find any grass ladders here!

Extension Ladders >     Step Ladders >     Scaffold Towers >

Read More: How to Calculate the Ladder Length You Need

 As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to give a member of the Ladders UK Direct team a call on 01446 789538. We'll help you find the ladder you need at a great price!

Ladder Safety Infographic

 

Infographic Transcript 

 

Did you know that 40% of all fatalities that occur in the workplace, and in particular the construction industry, happen as a result of a fall from height? (HSE)

Meanwhile, just under 20% of all non-fatal injuries in this trade over the last five years were also caused as a result of falls from individuals working at height, showing just how dangerous this type of work can be when the correct safety measures are not carried out.

And this is just in the workplace, just imagine how many deaths and injuries occur in and around the home that aren’t accounted for. This goes to show the importance of understanding safety when working at height and more specifically when using a ladder.

This handy infographic aims to provide the essential ladder safety tips that you should always follow to minimise the risks associated with working on a ladder at work or home.

 

Types of Ladders

There are two main types of ladders that you will use when working at height in the workplace or at home:

Step Ladders                                                                              Straight or Extension Ladders

 

Main Causes of Ladder Injuries

Before knowing how to stay safe on a ladder, it’s important to understand what the main causes of ladder injuries are. These include:

  • Poor or lack of pre-use inspection
  • Incorrect setup
  • Incorrect ladder use
  • Poor understanding of surroundings

 

What to Look Out for before Using a Ladder

To help ensure your ladder-related tasks don’t come crashing down, here are the areas of the ladder that will need to be inspected to ensure you avoid a fall from grace and keep your spirits high.

  • Stiles – The stiles are the vertical parts of the ladder, found on either side of the rungs. Before climbing up any ladder, it’s crucial to inspect the stiles to look out for any signs of damage such as splits, dents or bends. Damage to the stiles can seriously impact the structural integrity of the ladder and can potentially cause it to break mid-use.
  • Rungs – Ladder rungs are the horizontal steps that you climb on to ascend or descend a ladder. Just like the stiles, these are paramount when it comes to ensuring your ladder is fit for purpose. If you spot any rungs that are loose, bent or missing, it’s advised to not use your ladder and look to replace it right away. 
  • Feet – The feet of the ladder can be found on the underside of the stiles, typically fitted with rubber bases that provide extra support and friction between the ladder and the ground. If you notice that the ladder’s feet have become worn, damaged or are missing entirely, this can cause the ladder to slip from underneath you when you are on it so will also need to be replaced as soon as possible.

 

The Do’s & Don’ts of Ladder Safety 

When using a ladder, you SHOULD:

  • Always try to maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times (two hands & one foot or two feet & one hand)
  • Ensure you and your materials never exceed the maximum load limit of the ladder
  • Carry all tools and materials in a tool belt or use a hand line
  • Always face the ladder and work from the centre on the stiles
  • Ensure your shoes and clothes are clean and appropriate for working at height
  • Try to secure the ladder whenever possible using a tie-off or get another person to hold the bottom
  • Ensure extension and step ladders are fully extended and locked in place

 

When using a ladder you SHOULD NOT:

  • Work from either of the top two rungs unless the ladder’s specifications allow you to do so
  • Move the ladder whilst you or anyone else is on it
  • Connect ladders together to extend their length
  • Carry heavy items whilst climbing up or down the ladder that may make you lose balance
  • Place the ladder on top of a box, unstable base or in front of or against a door
  • Use the ladder as support on scaffolding or as a horizontal walkway

 

By following these simple safety tips, you will ensure that the risks involved with working at height whilst using a ladder are drastically reduced or eliminated completely. If your ladder has become damaged and needs to be replaced, be sure to browse our extensive range of high-quality ladders at www.laddersukdirect.co.uk

For more information on our step, extension or any type of ladder that we supply, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Ladders UK Direct team today!

Trestle

Trestles are rigid frames that can support anything from tables to staging boards, typically made out of wood, metal or plastic. They can be fixed, folding or adjustable and are used by many professionals from a range of industries for a variety of reasons.

In this blog, we take a closer look at trestles, some examples of how they are using and which type of trestle is right for a certain type of job. 

So, to learn more about what a trestle is and how one can benefit you, read on!

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Training to use a ladder

If you are required to work at height as part of your job or in your spare time, there is a range of equipment that can be used to not only make the task more efficient but a whole lot safer.

From access towers to man cages and ladders, the options available to you all ensure that you're able to get whatever job you need doing done, in a safe and controlled manner but do you need training to use them?

In this blog, we focus on the safe use of ladders and whether or not you need to complete any sort of training programme in order to use them to complete work either in a commercial setting or a domestic one.

So, if you're wondering if you need training to use a ladder, read on to find out!

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Ladders

Ladders are great pieces of equipment that help you complete tasks at height safely and efficiently. They work to minimise the risks associated with working at heights by providing stability for the user whilst they complete their job. But when is it the best time to use a ladder and not just your natural reach? 

If you have ever wondered when to use a ladder and when not, this blog aims to clear things up. Here, we will look at the times when a ladder is absolutely vital to ensure safe and effective work can be carried out and some tips that will help you remain safe whilst using your ladder. 

So, let's get right into it! 

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