Electricians are often required to work at height, whether they are fitting lights to the outside of a house or installing electrical cables through the ceiling of a warehouse. But when you are working at height it is vital to take all the correct safety precautions and one of the most important is using the right ladder for the job. So which type of ladder is the best for electricians to stay safe and get their work done efficiently and effectively? Let’s look at some of the considerations.

Consider alternative options first

The first thing to note about ladders and electricians is that there may be a better way to do the job than to use a ladder. Due to the nature of electrical work, a ladder isn’t always appropriate. This is because for many tasks, electricians need both hands free, but working on a ladder necessitates three points of contact at all times, usually meaning you can only use one hand while the other holds onto the ladder.

So it’s always a good idea to look at the alternatives. If it’s a large scale project, is it possible for you to use a scaffold tower? Scaffold towers can leave you with both hands free and space to place tools safely.

Avoid metal ladders

It’s often the case that if you are going to undertake an electrical task you might reach for the nearest ladder available – but this can be a mistake. Many standard ladders are made from aluminium or other metals which conduct electricity. If the ladder was to come into contact with electrical current it can put you at risk of electrocution. For electricians who work with exposed wires and other electrical hazards, this can be very dangerous. As such any electrician should look to non-metal options.

Timber or fibreglass is best

Timber and fibreglass ladders are usually the preferred option for electricians as these do not conduct electricity. In the majority of cases it is best to use a fibreglass option, as wood and timber is now far less commonly used to make ladders and fibreglass is stronger, more durable and lightweight. It should be noted that even with these types of ladder, you need to take care of them. If the ladder is damp it can still conduct electricity.

The right height for the job

Remember that no matter what kind of ladder you are going to use, it’s still vital that you follow standard ladder safety procedures. Most importantly, you should only ever use a ladder that allows you to safely reach up to the height of the job. Never assume that it is fine to overstretch or stand on a higher rung than the manual suggests. It’s always a better idea to make use of a taller ladder rather than putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

Additionally make sure that the ladder is set up safely with its feet on flat and solid ground, and that there is something with you to observe.