Using a telescoping ladder can be a great way to get a high and safe vantage point for residential property inspections, DIY projects, or even just to change a light bulb. However, it is important to use a telescoping ladder correctly and safely to avoid injury.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about using a telescoping ladder.

Getting to Know Your Ladder

The first step to using a telescoping ladder is to become familiar with it. Make sure you have all the necessary booklets and instructions from the manufacturer and understand how the ladder works. Some ladders have instructions printed on the side, so take the time to read these and become familiar with the ladder’s features.

Fully Extending the Ladder

Assuming you have a flat roof or loft space to inspect, you’ll need to fully extend the ladder. With some types of telescoping ladders, you must do this in one go, rung by rung, starting from the top. Make sure you have enough space to fully extend the ladder without hitting anything. Place your foot on the bottom rung to keep the ladder securely planted and extend the ladder upwards.

It is important to note that with some types of ladders, the ladder must be fully extended in order to be secure. If you’re using the ladder to inspect a flat roof, for example, the standard recommendation is to use the “4:1 rule,” meaning for every four units up the ladder, it must be one unit away from the wall.

Checking for Safety

Before using the ladder, it is important to check for safety. Most ladders will have tabs sticking down from each rung that must be at a certain angle (e.g. 70%) in order for the ladder to be safe to use. Check each rung to make sure the tabs are at the correct angle, and then give the ladder a tug to make sure it is securely locked.

Using the Ladder Safely

Always keep three points of contact with the ladder when using it (i.e. two feet and one hand, or two hands and one foot). As you climb, this will keep you secure.

For safety reasons, it is advised to avoid carrying anything in your hands, including cameras, clipboards, or other items.

Collapsing the Ladder

The riskiest part of using a telescoping ladder is collapsing it. Most ladders have a release mechanism that, once activated, will cause the ladder to collapse quickly. If the ladder is not lubricated properly or has become stuck through overuse, it may be necessary to encourage it to collapse with your hands. This is where it is important to be very careful, as your fingers and hands can get caught in the mechanism. Once the ladder has collapsed to a certain level, it should have locked itself and can be lifted and carried away by the appropriate lifting handle.

Setting the Ladder to An Intermediate Height

With some models of telescoping ladder, you can set the ladder to an intermediate height, such as head height. This can be useful when you need to get into a loft space, for example. The exact steps for setting the ladder to an intermediate height will vary depending on the manufacturer and model of ladder, so be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance.

Final Word

telescoping ladders are a convenient and versatile tool for any DIY enthusiast or professional tradesperson. By following these tips on how to use them safely and efficiently, you can get the most out of your ladder and avoid any potential accidents.

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