When getting ready to buy an extension ladder, the first thing we check is its height (length). This is the right approach, but it is worth knowing the difference between the height of a ladder and its working height! Very often we confuse these terms, and the consequences can be quite severe for us.
Length vs. working height
Extension ladders vary in length. This is most important for reasons of transport and storage. This dimension is the actual length of the ladder when folded or unfolded - in most cases, manufacturers provide both values.
Working height, on the other hand, is the maximum working range of an average person. It is important due to the type of activities we plan to do. Where does the working height come from? It is the sum of the length of a ladder when it is extended and about 1.5 m of additional reach. Where does this dimension come from? It is calculated by taking into account the reach of the arms of an average adult who stands at the maximum (safe!) height. For extension ladders this is the third step from the top, and for lean-to ladders it is the fourth step. However, it should be remembered that the added dimension varies from manufacturer to manufacturer (sometimes even by half a meter!), so it is worth checking the working height every time you decide to buy a ladder.
Both the length of an extension ladder and its working height are very important parameters when choosing a ladder. They affect the safety of the user, but also the comfort of work. An incorrectly selected working height can end badly for us! An unfortunate fall, in the best case will cause only a general bruise, but sometimes the consequences are much worse. So let's remember about our safety, following the manufacturer's recommendations concerning the working height of a given ladder!
The choice of extension ladder depends on many factors, but the working height is one of the most crucial ones. It can significantly affect our comfort and effectiveness of work. Before making a decision in this matter, make sure that the equipment meets your expectations and needs.