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How to Choose the Right Type of OSHA Ladder for Your Project

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How to Choose the Right Type of OSHA Ladder for Your Project

July 19, 2012

According to an article by, choosing the right OSHA ladder encompasses various aspects that are examined here.  Ladders are usually built from one of the three following materials: wood, fiberglass and metal (aluminum).   OSHA and ANSI set many guidelines and requirements to follow during new ladder construction.  To choose which is right for you, examine determining factors below:

  1. Environment
    1. The environment plays a large role in determining what material you should use for your OSHA ladders.  For example, while aluminum is the lightest weight material, it is also an electrical conductor so it would not be ideal near power sources.
    2. Safety
      1. Evaluate areas the OSHA ladders will be used and note uneven surfaces or obstructions.
    3. Ladder Length
      1. It is extremely dangerous to use OSHA ladders that are too short or too long; different ladders have different capacities and should be considered before selection.
    4. Duty Rating
      1. This indicates the weight capacity of the ladder, one way to determine the load capacity is adding your weight to:
        1. The weight of your clothing and equipment
        2. The weight of tools and supplies your carrying
        3. The weight of tools stored on ladder
      2. There are five categories of ladder duty ratings:
        1. Type IAA (Extra heavy duty) 375 pounds (lbs)
        2. Type IA (Extra heavy duty) 375 lbs
        3.  Type I (Heavy duty) 250 lbs
        4. Type II (Medium duty) 225 lbs
        5.  Type III (Light duty) 200 lbs
      3. You can also find load ratings on the specification label of the OSHA ladders
    5. Type
      1. Stepladder
      2. Single ladder
      3. Articulated ladder
      4. Combination ladder
      5. Extension ladder
      6. Extension trestle ladder
      7. Job-made ladders
      8. Fixed ladders
      9. Mobile ladder stands and ladder stand platforms

ANSI specifies a description of the proper care, use, set-up, labeling and identification in safety standards for ladders.  OSHA specifies that ladders should have a slip resistant surface, among other specifications. Companies should consider SlipNOT slip resistant metal OSHA ladders for ladder projects.  SlipNOT ladder rungs can be welded to stringers or ladder rung covers can be easily welded directly on top of existing ladder rungs to create a safe stepping surface.  Both solutions provide a durable, permanent surface for ladders, no matter how heavy the traffic or how slippery the environment.  Even when submerged in oil, SlipNOT OSHA ladders are 100% slip resistant and will not splinter like wood and fiberglass products.