17 Dec 2018
A safe workshop is a good workshop, and choosing a safe and sturdy ladder is a first priority for any warehouse or general business. The two most common ladders on the market today are ones made from aluminium, and ones made from fibreglass. Hardly a ‘dogs vs cats’ or ‘Ford vs Holden’ argument, there are plenty of advantages to choosing aluminium over fibreglass and vice versa depending on your situation. Here is a rundown of the two different types of ladders to suit your business or situation.
Aluminium ladders – the tradesman’s choice Aluminium ladders are an ‘all-rounder’ (though not to every degree, as we’ll discuss) – light, durable, and easy to handle. Aluminium ladders are also simple to set up, move around as needed, and can fit platforms and other accessories to help get the job done. Platform ladders such as the Sturgo Aluminium Platform Ladder works on a one piece operation for a simple foldout, and folds back flat for easy storage. Aluminium ladders are usually more affordable than fibreglass ladders, which is ideal if you need a ladder ‘just in case’.
Pictured: Sturgo Aluminium Platform Ladder
If you work around conductive metals and electricity, a fibreglass ladder is your best choice. Fibreglass is non-conductive, and safer around live wires and power lines. Aluminium ladders are unsuitable for such work. Fibreglass ladders are usually stronger than aluminium ladders (though many aluminium ladders can handle weights of 150kg+) which makes them ideal for carrying heavy loads up, or for bolting on heavier accessories. Fibreglass ladders are usually more resistant to weather, which means they’re good for use outside under all conditions, including heat. If you are working around heat or electricity, it’s best to invest a bit more in a fibreglass ladder for added peace of mind.
Fibreglass ladders – the sparky and labourer’s best friend
Pictured: Fibreglass Platform Ladder
Though fibreglass ladders are more durable and are better for outdoor conditions, constant exposure to UV could degrade their outer layer. This can cause colour fading, and in rare instances, skin irritation. If your fibreglass ladder is not already coated applying an acrylic lacquer can prolong its lifespan. This additional maintenance is a requirement to factor in.
What to keep in mind
The debate about fibreglass being ‘lighter’ due to the weight of the material is not true in all cases, some fibreglass ladders are indeed heavier than their aluminium counterparts are. Heavier also doesn’t mean stronger, as a ladder’s stability depends largely on the cross-brace design and footprint. Both types of ladders will have to conform to Australian Standards, which means they are designed with a minimum safety requirement. If it doesn't have an AS certification – don’t buy it.
Pictured: Sturgo Full Surround Handrail
Whether you choose fibreglass or aluminium, Backsafe Australia sells quality ladders of all types, with ladders on castors for manoeuvrability and with anti-skid, extra safe platforms for that additional peace of mind. We can also customise your ladder to your requirements. Contact us on 1300 305 314 to talk to one of our friendly consultants or email us at email@example.com.
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