Fibreglass ladders are more expensive than their aluminium counterparts, a 3.1 metre aluminium extension ladder that costs £99 can cost around £150 in fibreglass. They are associated with electricians and anyone working in a spark risk environment, but in fact anyone working near overhead power lines should make use of fibreglass ladders, as two tree surgeons in Kenner, Louisiana, USA found out recently. The two men were working in a friend's garden removing some trees when the aluminium ladder they were using made contact with overhead lines, which were running with approximately 13,000 volts at the time. When the police arrived they found the men with severe burns and other injuries. They were taken to hospital in a critical condition. In this case, had the men been using a fibreglass ladder they would not have had this terrible accident. Fibreglass ladders are more expensive, but the cost of a serious injury is much higher. Of course, not everyone will need to use a fibreglass ladder in case of electrical shock. Painting, maintenance and DIY (as long as they don't involve electrics) are perfectly safe to carry out on an aluminium ladder provided it is used correctly. The danger comes when you are working directly with electrics, or you are working outdoors near power lines.
Fiberglass Extension Ladders
Youngman are a highly trusted name in the ladder industry, so it's no surprise that they have a good range of fibreglass extension ladders. Ranging from 3.1 metres to 4.8 metres in height, these ladders have a rope-operated pulley to help extend the ladder to its full height. They cost between £150 and £350, are all certified to EN131 and insulated to 30,000 volts. As you would expect from Youngman, these fibreglass ladders are well built, with wide anti slip treads, swivel feet with both rubber and steel ice pick plats for all sorts of surfaces. Midland Ladders also has a range of fibreglass builder's steps from four to ten treads. This gives heights of between 1.1 metres and 2.9 metres. These too are certified to EN131 and are insulated to 30,000 volts. The heaviest weighs in at 12 kilos, so they are pretty light. The top handrail of this ladder is extra wide to incorporate a tool tray, making it ideal for building sites and big wiring jobs as your tools are easily at hand. These are priced between £62 and £135.
Need a More Heavy Duty Ladder Solution?
For a more heavy-duty site requirement there are fibreglass platform step ladders available. These are available in three to ten tread models, costing between £69 and £139, and have platform heights of between 70cm and 2.3 metres. Serrated treads, a large platform and non slip feet make this ladder very safe to use, and the safety rail at the top also doubles as a tool tray. These fibreglass step-ladders are ideal for more heavy duty site work and are designed for frequent use. If a larger platform is needed, extra wide platform step ladders are available. These fibreglass ladders are designed for heavy-duty site work where working at height for long periods is required. A safety chain between the handrails at the rear of the platform completes the guard-rail system. They are available in three (platform height 60cm) to eight treads (platform height 1.7 metres) at a cost of between £199 and £285. They are not cheap, but they are very handy fibreglass ladders, robust, completely safe for electrical work, with the added bonus of folding flat for storage and transportation. So if there is a danger of electrical contact, always use a fibreglass ladder. They are available for most types of job and the extra money is worth paying for safety's sake.