Learn the correct way to use a ladder and how to use two ladders as a platform. Also, find out the different types of access equipment that can be rented.
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When purchasing a ladder, check that your choice meets current safety standards. Find out the maximum load that it can support. Store ladders horizontally and out of reach of children and potential burglars.
Securing a Ladder Before Climbing
The top of the ladder must rest against a solid surface. If possible, tie the top part of the ladder onto a solid structure on the wall, securing rope around the stiles of the ladder rather than the rungs. It may also be possible to tie it to a strong furring strip braced across the inside of a window with padding to protect the inside walls. Never stand on the top three rungs of a ladder and make sure cleats are securely engaged.
Aim to work on dry, solid, and level ground. On a soft surface, use a strong board underneath the feet to prevent them from sinking, and hammer stakes into the ground and tie the stiles to the stakes with rope.
? Never use a ladder near overhead electrical wires or equipment.
? Never use a ladder in front of a doorway unless someone else guards it.
? When positioning a ladder against a wall, make sure that the height of the top of the ladder is four times (4:1) the distance between the wall and the ladder's base. Many ladders have an angle guide printed on the side to help with this.
? Inspect a ladder thoroughly before use to ensure that there are no cracks or breaks. Check a wooden ladder for rot and a metal ladder for corrosion. Never paint a ladder: paint may hide any damage to the structure.
? Check ladder feet. A metal ladder should have rubber, slip-resistant feet.
? Check that the ladder is sturdy enough to support your weight.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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