An extension ladder is largely the same on the front and the back, but a stepladder that folds out has major differences. These are very common and useful ladders since they are free-standing, and they’re often more stable than other types of ladders.
However, the design can lead to some major safety mistakes. You see, there are only rungs to climb on one side. These tend to be rather wide steps, moving up to a platform at the top that workers are never supposed to step on at all. On the other side of the ladder, there are support braces. They’re just structural devices to make the ladder stronger, but you should never climb them.
Why not? Simply put, they’re not rungs and they’re not designed like it. They’re thinner and thus more likely to break under a heavy load. They don’t provide stable footing. You can slip off of the small surfaces, especially since they’re often rounded, not flat.
Workers sometimes make the mistake of thinking that they can climb both sides, often because they don’t want to get down and move the ladder. If they can climb up the back side, they can get the job done faster. As we often find in workplace situations, though, making the speed of the job your top priority increases the risks that you face. It’s much better to work safely, even if it takes you longer to complete the job.
Even when you use ladders properly, though, falls are a risk. If you suffer serious injuries, it’s important for you to carefully consider all of your options.