The A frame ladders do allow you to get up high in the middle of the room. For that there is a limit on how high you can get. Most work that is needed in industrial or commercial applications is on or around the perimeter of the space. This is the best place for these ladders as they need to rest against something.
One of the many reasons the A frame ladder has a limited useful range is because of the safety factors involved. By law a person can not step on the top platform and not even on the first step down. Other locations restrict a body from using the top two steps.
An extension unit has, as its basic features and benefits, the ability to extend from the current 10 or 12 foot length to as high as 30 or 36 feet. This is accomplished by moving the section up and latching it on the rungs to achieve that extra height. Some ladders will have as many as two or three extra sections that can be extended with two main systems.
The simple ladders will have a hand operated system of extension. This means you will push the section up and latch the arms onto a rung to hold it tight. This is similar to the personal ladders available. The other system is a better way to handle this ladder. Through a pulley at the top of the ladder, you can pull the rope and lift those additional sections up and cause them to latch onto the rung.
The type of material that these units are constructed of will also be an important factor to consider. Most of these are metal, such as aluminum and can be painted to signify their association with a certain area of the plant or site. There are wooden ones, although this has been discouraged in recent years especially for outdoor work. The most popular material for these is fiberglass for very specific reasons.
The material does not corrode or rust even a bit. It has the same strength, without the weight, of metal units and the most important feature is how it protects the climber from one thing. The fiberglass ladder does not conduct electricity so workers, moving in and around these connections, will not be subjected to electrocution dangers as much.
When you need the ability to get higher up than you or your personnel can get standing on the floor, you need this type of ladder. They have the ability to be moved easily and can be extended by only one person. There are even attachable feet that can be deployed to assist on an uneven floor. This is the way to get up there and stay safe while you are doing it.
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