How to use flexible sided ladders.

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Rigging a flexible ladder.

Flexible ladders are usually fixed by a single point of attachment from above.

Flexible ladders can be fixed to an anchor with the use of a Y-shape spreader, or wire anchor strop around an I-beam for example. Compact flexible ladders can also be fitted with a swaged eye at the top so that the ladder can be clipped directly to an anchor without the need for a spreader or wire belay. 

Wide rung ladders can be fitted either using a wire rope belay or by clipping them directly to a hanger using a pear shaped karabiner or a pear shape maillon. See connectors.

Fibrelight ladders come complete with a maillon so that they can be fitted directly to a single anchor point e.g. the swaged eye of a halyard on a boat.

When selecting anchorage for your ladder you must consider:

When approaching the anchorage of the ladder climbers must be protected by either clipping into a traverse line with a lanyard or by a lifeline.

Some aspects to consider before lowering your ladder:

Lowering your ladder ensure that you do not just allow the ladder to un roll itself. Lower the ladder rung by rung checking for snags and obstructions, and finally check that it has reached the bottom!

Belaying a climber to provide a lifeline.

The belay that is set to protect the climber should have its own set of independent anchors. A suitable belay device should be used and a set of clear signals should be confirmed. The climber must be lifelined by someone who is competent in belaying techniques.

The lifeline/belayer should consider the the following:

Another method the climber could use as a lifeline is a mobile fall arrester such as the Petzl ASAP. Proper training in the use of this type of device is essential. A method of rescue must also be considered for this method.

Climbing your flexible ladder.

Below are some tips on climbing a flexible sided ladder, with a bit of practice its easy.

If the ladder has been rigged low down and you will have to slide over an edge, be careful not to trap your fingers behind the rungs. This is pain full and dangerous and should normally be easy to avoid with proper rigging of the ladder in the first instance.

Sometimes it is unavoidable to have a ladder lying against a wall. Climbing a ladder in this situation can be made easier by swivelling the ladder so that the side of your body is close to the wall as you climb. This will also avoid trapping your fingers between the wall and the rungs.

You may wish to consider putting pressure on the bottom of the ladder as this will make the ladder easier to climb.

Do not wear boots with lace hooks that can catch on the rungs of the ladder.

The construction of our flexible sided ladders.

The rungs of our flexible sided ladders are hollow tubes with a dowel insert. The rungs of the ladders are secured using pins and resin. The pin is driven through the rope into the dowel inside the rung, it is then set in resin to form a solid block inside the rung. A plastic cap is is then fitted to seal the rung end. When a rung is to be anodized all the cuts and holes are drilled before the anodizing processes to ensure complete coverage of the metal.

Notes on wire ladders:

The breaking load of a rung strength for our ladders is tested as:- Breaking lad of rung = Load at which the rung bends using 18mm tape over the centre of the rung.

The wire used in our ladders is one of either of the following-
7 X 9 = Nineteen wires make one strand, seven of these are twisted together to form a rope.
7 X 7 = Seven wires make one strand, seven of these are twisted together to make a rope.

Notes on Fibrelight ladders:

All flexible ladders have a limited life time including wire ladders. The life time of a ladder can be as short as one use if it has been subject to excessive wear e.g. the ladder was over loaded, suffered excessive abrasion etc. Fibrelight ladders are likely to need replacing more regularly than wire ladders. A Fibrelight ladder can be stored for up to three years before its first use if stored correctly in a cool, dark, dry pace.

Below is a guide to the sort of life span you maybe able to expect from your Fibrelight ladder bearing in mind this does depend on the weight of the user and the does not include excessive wear.

Daily use: Up to three months
Weekly use: Up to six months
Occasional use: No more than five years

Another important point to note is that Fibrelight ladders are produced using polyester webbing that has a melting temperature of 245C but its strength is reduced far before the webbing has reached this temperature making them hazardous to use any where that they may come into contact with hot machinery etc.

Fibrelight ladders are only suitable for use by persons weighing less than 120kg/18.90 stone.

Benefits of Fibrelight ladders over wire ladders.

If you have any further questions regarding any of our ladders or their use please don't hesitate to contact us