Access ladders are a type of ladder that is designed to provide safe and easy access to high places. They are often used in commercial and industrial settings, but they can also be found in homes and other buildings. Access ladders come in a variety of styles, including step ladders, extension ladders, and platform ladders. They are typically made from aluminum or steel, and they are often equipped with safety features such as non-slip feet and railings.
Access ladders have been around for centuries and have evolved over time to meet the needs of different users. Early access ladders were made from wood and were often quite simple in design. As access ladders became more popular, they began to be made from metal and other materials. Today, there are many different types of access ladders available, each designed for a specific purpose.
Fixed ladders often have cages as a safety measure to prevent falls and injuries. Cages begin at a certain height above the ground and extend upwards, surrounding the ladder. This enclosure provides an additional layer of protection for the climber by ensuring that they stay aligned with the ladder and don't fall backward. Although cages don't stop falls entirely, they can arrest a fall by limiting the distance a person might drop, reducing the likelihood of severe injuries.
In the context of access ladders, ANSI Type 1 and Type 2 typically refer to the duty ratings of portable ladders. Type 1 ladders are known as Heavy-Duty ladders, suitable for industrial use, with a load capacity of up to 250 lbs. Type 2 ladders, termed Medium-Duty, are more suitable for commercial and do-it-yourself applications, with a load capacity of up to 225 lbs. Type 1 ladders are generally more robust and durable compared to Type 2.
When climbing a ladder, it's imperative to face the ladder and use both hands for a secure grip. Always maintain three points of contact, such as two hands and one foot, or vice versa, to ensure stability. Wearing slip-resistant shoes is essential to prevent slips. Climb slowly and deliberately, making sure to keep your body centered between the rails to avoid tipping. Refrain from carrying items in your hands; instead, use a tool belt or hoist, and never ascend beyond the ladder's recommended safe height, typically the second-to-last rung on stepladders or third-to-last on extension ladders.