Hands On
Safety's Always First

MAR/APR 2002
Volume 45/Issue 2

Contest Winners
First, Second and Third Place Winning Projects
Project Articles
The Garden Bench
Wren and Blue Jay Bird Houses
Tapered Planter Box

Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Finishing Touches - Pt.4 Applying a Synthetic Finish
Service Pointers
Disc Sander
Safety Tips
Ladder Safety

What's New
Hands-On Timeless Classics Now Available on CD ROM

Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You

National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH

Online Accessory Catalog
Request Printed Accessory Catalog
Online Replacement Parts Catalog

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MARK V Demo Near You

Request MARK V Information Package

Links Worth Visiting
Free Woodworking Tips

Contacting Shopsmith

Copyright 2002.
Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Ladder Safety

Choosing the best ladder for the job

Ladders are available in three basic materials and five “ladder ratings”, as follows:

Aluminum Ladders are lightweight, strong and very affordable. They resist corrosion when stored outside, but are not recommended for use around electrical lines.
Fiberglass Ladders are also lightweight and very strong. They are a bit more costly than aluminum ladders and are better suited for work around electrical lines, since they are non-conductive.
Wood Ladders are electrically non-conductive (when dry and clean) and are the least expensive form of stepladder. Wooden extension ladders can be very heavy and difficult to control. Wood ladders will rot if left out in the weather.

Ladder Ratings
Today's ladders are rated for load capacity, as follows:

  • TYPE III ladders are Light Duty Ladders, rated to hold up to 200 lbs.
  • TYPE II ladders are Medium Duty Ladders, rated to hold up to 225 lbs.
  • TYPE I ladders are Heavy Duty Ladders, rated to hold up to 250 lbs.
  • TYPE IA ladders are Extra Heavy Duty Ladders, rated to hold up to 300 lbs.
  • TYPE IAA ladders are Special Duty Ladders, rated to hold up to 375 lbs.

Storing and maintaining ladders

Between jobs, ladders should be stored horizontally on supports to prevent sagging. This is especially true for wooden ladders.

  • Before using a ladder, check to be sure all fastenings are tight and all movable parts are lightly oiled for ease of operation.
  • Check to be sure rungs and steps are clean and free of grease and dirt.
  • If the rubber feet on an extension ladder are missing, replace them.
  • If your extension ladder is equipped with a raising rope, be sure it is in good condition and that all pulleys are functioning properly.