Ladders, yes those seemingly harmless objects are considered to be one of the major causes of injuries worldwide. If statistics is anything to go by, as many as 200,000 people get injured and a horrifying 300 deaths are reported each year because of ladder related injuries. Now imagine asking an elderly person use any of these dreaded ladders all alone. It could be a disaster in the making.
A good many number of elderly people are suffering from mobility and balance related issues and therefore, if they are to purchase a ladder, they have to be extra careful otherwise, they might end up getting themselves injured in the process.
It is a fact that in most cases, ladders have almost nothing to do with these injuries. In most cases, these injuries are the byproducts of plain and simple human errors. Now, if we leave aside these judgments of errors things for a few minutes, we will realize the truth that faulty ladders are the biggest threat to the safety of senior citizens.
As obvious, elderly people try their level best to order only quality ladders so that their safety and security do not get compromised. But the problem is locating the best and the perfect ladder for senior is not that easy. It is not like buying a shirt. A wrong ladder will do more harm than good to you and for that reason, here we are going to offer some ladder buying tips so that you can make a better buying decision –
Getting Started is the First Stage
The very first stage of locating the most suitable ladder for an elderly person is getting started. Just browsing the web and reading reviews of others are not enough. Reviews can be promotional and if you fail to differentiate between a paid and a genuine review, you might end up buying the worst ladder of the world. You need to talk with the employees to get to understand what ail them the most and what kind of ladders they find most convenient for their day-to-day work.
There is one vital thing that you must not overlook while buying a ladder – “Maximum Weight Rating.” Since it is impossible to predict who will be using the ladder in the future, you need to make sure that the ladder has a maximum weight rating of 300 pounds (Type 1A).
Be Careful with the Instructions
If you have no idea how to use your ladder correctly, it would not make any sense even if you choose the world’s best ladder because you would be using it the wrong way and accidents will be just around the corner. So, whenever you buy a ladder just make sure that you have read the safety information and manufacturer’s directions carefully before you start climbing on it.
Figure out Which Ladder Fits the Purpose
The design and height of ladders should be taken into consideration while buying one for you. And please test the product before you buy. Climb on it and try to figure out whether the ladder is tilting or getting unbalance. Ask the seller about the return policy because it might happen that you might find ladder not so effective and you might have to replace it with a new one.
As we have already said, ladder injuries are mostly caused by people’s negligence and misuse of it. But we simply can’t rule out the fact that design flaws can also contribute to ladder injuries and if these flaws are ignored, they can lead major workplace injuries and in some worse cases, death.
Test the strength of the ladder by climbing on it but carefully (act your age mate!). Multi-use ladders are particularly infamous for crushing hands so take a look at those things very carefully. Check whether the steps have anti-slip coating. These are the few safety factors that you should be taking into consideration when you are planning to buy a ladder for your workplace.
Types of Ladders
These ladders are truly versatile in every sense of the term. You use it like a scaffold, or a stepladder or an extension ladder. In short, Multiuse Ladders will never cease to amuse you. Though the reach of Multiuse Ladders can be as high as 15 feet, there is a fundamental difference between a stepladder and Multiuse Ladders. Compared to Multiuse ladders, straight ladders are a bit more rigid. Multiuse Ladders are generally costlier and they usually come up with different locking points. Since they are heavier than stepladders, it might be difficult for a single person to move and maneuver a multi-folding ladder all by himself.
If you have to work on platform that is above 17 feet off the ground, you should be opting for extension ladders. These ladders do not take much space. They are lightweight but have strength enough to support the weight of an adult person. However, extension ladders can’t be used on stairs as they tend to be more rigid than multiuse step ladders. Telescoping models can lead to hand injury if you don’t use them carefully. So, you should be careful every time, you are collapsing it.
These ladders are particularly useful if you are working relatively near the ground. These ladders help you reach out to places which would have been otherwise inaccessible. It basically works as a height booster for employees. It is strong, safe and comfortable to work with. They work best on plain platform and can be used anywhere, be it indoor or outdoor. However, step ladders are definitely not ideal for using on stairs. These ladders are ideal for small household tasks like shifting items from one place to another, painting, small repairing job, window cleaning and more.
Salient Features of a High Quality Ladder
Once you have decided what type of ladder you want purchase, the next most crucial aspect would be to identify the features of a good quality ladder. Now, if you find the task overwhelmingly difficult, allow us to help you –
Choose a ladder height that suits your purpose. Don’t use a ladder that is too high for the job. Similarly, do not choose a ladder that is too low for the job. It has been observed that stepping above the maximum height of the ladder can increase the odds of accidents to a great extent. You should be more careful with extension ladders because they are prone to accidents and mishaps.
Every ladder comes with a label that tells us in no uncertain term about the maximum weight it can handle safely. So whenever you are buying a ladder, you need to take a look at those labels carefully and choose the one that you think suit your purpose. You need to test it with load 4 times its maximum load capacity and see if the ladder is malfunctioning or not. Technically, house ladders should have a minimum load capacity of 300-pound.
No matter what the material is used to make a ladder, it needs to make sure that it is strong enough to withstand heavy weight and rough handling. If the work has something to do with power lines or electric cable, you should not opt for Aluminum ladders because Aluminum is a good conductor of electricity. Rather you should be opting for wooden or fiberglass ladder. However, you should not overlook the fact that any material is capable of conducting electricity when wet. So, bear this in mind while using a ladder.