The most common ladder is a step ladder or A-frame ladder. Safety is very important with ladders having non-slip tread or handrails for ease of climbing. Step or A-frame folding ladders use wider treads (steps) for stability and are self-supporting coupled with a lightweight frame.
Types of Step LadderPlatform Step Ladders
These ladders have a top tread for multi-purpose use with the platform as a stable working position or a high-level platform for resting tools and materials being used. This type of ladder opens up like scissors to be free-standing steps with a small podium at the top. It makes it safe by leaving your hands free and with the added handrail above the platform for added stability.Swingback Step Ladder
This type of step ladder usually has deep serrated anti-slip steps to sure a secure footing on the ladder. Featuring only treads on one side this stepladder has box section back legs with heavy-duty bracing for added strength and safety. The number of treads on this type of stepladder includes the very top tread section, so a 6-tread step ladder has 5 treads plus the very top section. The HSE advises for safety reasons that users should not stand on the top 3 treads. Whilst the BS EN131 standard states that the user should not use the top two treads.
Choosing the right ladder
When choosing a ladder its influenced by the material as well as safety and durability purposes. Fibreglass ladders generally offer the best value being lightweight and durable than aluminium, even though it costs a lot more than its metal counterpart. For a breakdown of each material:Aluminium
Aluminium stepladders are favoured among homeowners for their reasonable price and lightness. These stepladders are durable, but the legs can bend and the steps or rungs sometimes can sag. Professionals don't usually use aluminium as they are able to conduct electricity, which can be dangerous. They may be cheap and light but are not the first choice among professionals.Fibreglass
Fibreglass stepladders are the most popular, being as light as aluminium, but far stronger and durable in everyday use. Costing more than its metal counterparts, however, it will last an incredibly long time. They are safe around electrical items and in wet slippery conditions, making them ideal for the workplace.