Fibreglass Ladders a Safety Perspective

By: Amanda King

Ladders are made from a variety of materials. The Most popular ladders are made of wood or aluminium but fibreglass is probably the safest and the best. Fibreglass, which is sometimes referred to, as glass fibre is made of extremely fine fibres of glass. The mass production of fibreglass began in the late nineteenth century however modern fibreglass was invented in 1938 by Russell Games Slayter of Owens-Corning as a product to be used as insulation.

Fibreglass is non-corrosive and has a much longer life expectancy when compared to a variety of construction materials. Where the environment is highly corrosive fibreglass stands up a lot better than metal, wood, or plastic. Therefore fibreglass is a popular choice where exposure to harsh environments is a concern, Fibreglass provides resistance to ultra violent light, extreme temperatures, salt. air, and a variety of chemicals including most acids. Fibreglass is chemically inert and corrosion-resistant and therefore it provides an economical advantage to wood and aluminium. Fibreglass also has a High strength to weight ratio and high flexural strength. It is an attractive lightweight material that builds strength into almost any finished product or component. Pound for pound fibreglass can be stronger than steel and sheet metals. With these factors fibreglass becomes an excellent product to be used in the manufacture of ladders.

An added problem with aluminium ladders is that they are a good conductor of electricity. This reduces their use by those in the electrical trade. It is possible to get electrocuted using aluminium ladders if they are used in time of storms or in some way located close to an electrical outlet.

Fibreglass however is more expensive than wood and aluminium, which leads to the higher cost for ladders made from fibreglass. Nevertheless the extra cost of fibreglass may well be worth the added cost because safety should be the first consideration of any tradesman or handyman. Every year hundreds to thousands of workers die or become disabled through workplace ladder accidents. Ladder accidents come about through an improper selection of a ladder. Therefore before buying a ladder take safety into account and be aware that one of the main causes of ladder accidents is through electrical shocks and instability of ladders. Something, which a fibreglass ladder may be able to avoid. Thankfully the price of fibreglass ladders has been falling making them more affordable and an inducement for the safety conscious buyer of trade and domestic equipment.

Fibreglass ladders can come in a number of different styles and sizes. They can also come in collapsible and extension forms. This may make them suited to particular needs. Therefore there is really no reason why when buying a ladder that the fibreglass ladder should be overlooked from a safety and versatility perspective.

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