Understanding Ladders: The Ladder Parts Most Prone to Damage
Ladders, just like many other tools, are composed of different parts designed to fulfil specific roles. Each part needs to be in great shape for them to work properly. However, most people hardly take time to inspect the parts to ensure they’re in excellent condition, especially if the ladder is still new or still able to carry out its intended purpose.
Ladder-related injuries and deaths are still a major concern in most workplaces and homes. Unfortunately, complacency and lack of knowledge are some of the major causes of the injuries. To reduce and stop such injuries, it’s vital that each user understands each ladder component and the parts that are most prone to damage. Read on to learn the parts of a ladder most prone to damage and what you should do to mitigate possible problems.
Rungs or Steps
A typical ladder can have between 4 and 30 steps/rungs, depending on the type. These are the parts that people step and stand on hence take the brunt of the work. They’re very prone to damage since they are the parts that always get in contact with the user. The material of construction plays an important role in how strong your ladder will be. For instance, ladders made from wood can support less weight than those made from metal or fibreglass, making them more prone to damage.
Ensure to remove any slippery substances like mud and grease from the steps before climbing to enhance your safety and maintain their integrity. Should you notice damaged, loose, or missing steps, stop using the ladder immediately and arrange for its repair or replacement. This applies to fixed access ladders, as well.
Ladder feet refers to the base of the ladder responsible for providing balance and stability. Usually, these parts are equipped with slip-resistant surfaces to prevent them from slipping while in use. Some of the factors that may affect the anti-slip condition include normal wear and tear, accidental dropping of the ladder, and ladder misuse. To prevent the ladder from becoming unstable and slipping, always ensure that the foot material is in contact with a smooth and solid surface. Avoid placing the ladder on loose soil, sand, or stone.
Stiles or Rails
These refer to the vertical parts where rungs and steps are attached. They differ depending on the type of ladder. Attic and single section ladders have two stiles while step ladders have four. Stile damage can result from improper ladder handling or transportation. Avoid storing plastic ladders in an area where they’ll be exposed to chemicals and heat to prevent possible deformation. Metal ladders should also be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent the stiles from rust.
The Bottom Line
Knowing which ladder parts are more prone to damage will help you become more careful when handling or using this tool. You must always inspect your ladder each time before using it to ensure each part is its excellent condition. This should apply to all ladders regardless of whether they’re new or old, even if you’d inspected them before storage.