Each month PaintPRO will highlight health, safety, or wellness issues. These include practical guidelines for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. Remember, there’s only one of you, so take care of yourself!
or lowered into place, the most desired angle of inclination is set at 75.5 degrees. This angle provides the best stability and places stresses on the ladder properly. It also provides for easy climbing, because it permits the climber to stand perpendicular at arm’s length from the rungs.
If the butt of the ladder is placed too far away from the building, the load carrying capacity of the ladder is reduced and it has more of a tendency to slip. Placement at such an angle may be necessary however, when there is an overhang on the building.
In such cases either tie the bottom of the ladder off or heel it by placing another person at the butt of the ladder so no slipping occurs. The person at the base of the ladder must remain in place at all times when the extension ladder is being used at a poor angle.
If the butt of the ladder is placed too close to the building, its stability is reduced because climbing tends to cause the tip of the ladder to pull away from the building.
An easy way to determine the proper distance between the heel or foot, of the ladder and the building is to divide the used length of the ladder by four. For example, if 20 feet of the ladder is needed to reach the top of the building, the butt should be placed 5 feet out from the building (20 feet divided by 4 equals 5 feet). The proper angle can also be checked by placing the toe of your boot against the heel and reaching out for the rung in front of you. The person should be able to grab the rung (step) of the ladder, while standing straight up., with arms extended straight out in front. Newer ladders are equipped with an inclination marking (looking like a framers square) on the outside of the beam. When the lines are perfectly vertical and horizontal the ladder is properly set.
Use these guidelines for safe use of an extension ladder at all times, and never compromise these guidelines for the sake of getting the job done. Your safety is the most important consideration on any jobsite.