Why you shouldn’t keep your ladders outdoors
In last week’s blog, we talked about storing your ladders in the garage – sharing the perks and how-to’s. Today, we’re taking a closer look at storing ladders outside and why it might not be the best place to store your access equipment.
Any tradesperson will know just how important proper ladder storage is. However, at the end of a busy day, it’s easy to take shortcuts and leave ladders lying around in places they shouldn’t be. This is not only a risk for passers-by; it’s also damaging for a ladder’s longevity and can lead to deterioration and rotting.
While aluminium ladders are fairly robust and can be used outdoors, they shouldn’t be stored outdoors long-term. Unlike other metal ladders, aluminium won’t rust - making ladders of this type suitable for outdoor use and storage. However, it’s the other materials that you need to be worried about.
Other materials that may be used in the design of your aluminium ladder are PVC and other plastics – usually for the fixtures and feet. These materials break down in UV light and sunlight. As key anchors of the ladder and of upmost importance when it comes to a ladder’s structure and safety, you simply can’t afford for these features to rot and deteriorate.
Leave a wooden ladder outdoors and it could be subject to weather damage – especially if untreated. Damp weather causes wood to expand, creating problems in your ladder’s overall structure, while high heat can also cause issues.
Ladders made from wood should not only be stored inside, they should also be treated appropriately for outdoor work. Sealants should help to weatherproof a wooden ladder to some extent - making it suitable for outdoor work but not for storage outdoors.
Fibreglass Step ladders and Extension Ladders
Fibreglass ladders can be a pain to transport around. They’re heavy to carry - meaning packing up is the last thing you want to do at the end of the day. However, no matter how tired you’re feeling, fibreglass extension ladders and fibreglass step ladders must always be moved and stored indoors.
When exposed to sunlight, fibreglass material can break down. This means the quality of your ladder will deteriorate and ladder safety compromised. No matter how good or how expensive your ladder may have been it will eventually break down in UV light.
Other things to consider
It’s not just the material of your ladder that determines the need for storage inside rather than out. There are a number of other risks when it comes to outdoor storage that can only be mitigated by bringing your ladder indoors.
- Unauthorised access to the ladder. If an untrained individual uses your ladder they could fall or injure themselves.
- Trip hazards. Most ladders stored outdoors will be propped against a wall. This is a trip hazard and also carries a risk of the ladder falling.
- When stored outside a work premises or residential property, ladders can provide unique points of access that wouldn’t usually be possible.
If you’d like more information on ladders, ladder inspections and ladder safety, check out the rest of our blog. You can also contact us on 01282 615517 to find out more about our products and services.