Rolling ladders are a familiar sight in industrial and commercial settings, bringing convenience, flexibility, and increased safety for warehouse employees. Their durable, lightweight frames are usually of aluminum or steel construction for added durability and stability.
By using the multi-directional rolling casters, employees can move the platform ladder around the warehouse facility. Since employees can use them inside or outside, you can add a protective coating to shield them from the elements and corrosive chemicals.
Due to their versatility, many businesses invest in a rolling ladder to boost productivity and enhance the warehouse workflow.
When To Use a Rolling Ladder
Although rolling ladders are a staple of many warehouses and distribution centers, they are also prevalent throughout many other industries. Any business that stores materials above a safe reaching height can benefit from using a platform ladder. You can utilize a rolling ladder:
In Areas with Limited Visibility
Rolling ladders can transform your business’ efficiency and safety because employees can quickly move a ladder without having to carry it. They can see precisely where the ladder is at all times, and they can stop if there is a danger in front, to the side, or behind. Rolling ladders can also be equipped with safety tags for better visibility.
For Extended Materials Handling
Unlike fixed ladders, rolling ladders are equipped with added safety features including a wide top platform, handrails, and locking casters. This enables workers to safely access bulky or heavy items high up, or handle materials for prolonged periods without the risk of falling.
In Narrow Areas
Within a warehouse facility, when you need to maximize your storage capacity, working within narrow spaces can be vital. Rolling ladders can also come in a variety of widths making them especially useful when working in locations where aisle width is narrow.
Step ladders or an extension ladder are often unsteady which could lead to serious workplace accidents when accessing inventory at high locations. Carrying a fixed metal ladder to multiple locations could result in injury and damage to inventory as its length makes it difficult to maneuver in a tight space.
Rolling Ladder Best Practices
To get the most out of your rolling ladder and avoid potential workplace injury, there are some best practices you and your staff must follow.
Choosing the Correct Size of Rolling Ladder for Your Business
Depending on the layout for the building, you could have wide or narrow aisles, places where it would be challenging to maneuver around a corner, and even appliances such as air conditioning units that would prevent the ladder from trailing down an aisle.
Before you make your investment in a rolling ladder, it’s vital to measure the building dimensions, know the width and height of locations where you need to access stock, and ensure there are no obstacles that would impede the ladder.
While it is impossible to remove all risk when using portable ladders, you can take steps to ensure maximum ladder safety. You must meet the minimum standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) standard 29 CFR for ladder requirements, which refers to the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems.
You should check the rung steps on the supporting ladder are slip-resistant, uniformly spaced, and that there is no sign of rust or corrosion on the frame. The casters should be skidproof, and a ladder that exceeds 10 feet in height, should have guardrails at the top and sides.
Regularly check the locking mechanism on the casters to ensure there are no signs of wear and tear. If there is any rust or evidence of loose connecting pins, you should remove the ladder from operation until the ladder is fixed.
Rolling Ladder Maintenance
Keeping your ladder clean and free from contamination, ensures that it can last for many years and is also safe for use. Industrial and commercial settings can often use hazardous chemicals that can make metal slippery, or have a lot of moisture in the air leading to corrosion making the steps dangerous for staff.
Following a thorough cleaning process before and after each use reduces the risk of a workplace injury.
Invest in Staff Training
Providing extensive staff training ensures they know how to use the rolling ladder correctly and identify signs of danger. While there can be various unique situations in an industrial or commercial environment, there are some essential safety procedures that your staff should follow.
1. Before stepping onto a ladder, secure the unit so that it can not move. If you are working in an area where the floor is damp, oily or exposed to chemicals on the ground, then you must be especially careful.
Test that the ladder is stable. If there are any objects below the base, then move these before use. Also, check that the casters are not damaged and that they firmly connect to the frame.
2. Face the ladder when beginning to climb, and never turn around when working at height. All staff should wear slip-resistant footwear and should hold the safety rails on either side because if your foot slips, you can still prevent a fall by gripping the metal handles.
3. When on the top step, you should be able to reach your goods comfortably. If you need to stand on your toes or try to balance on one leg while extending one arm, this is unsafe. Do not be tempted to increase your reach by standing on boxes, or placing wood or other materials under the wheels of the ladder.
4. While these are often heavy-duty pieces of equipment, you should not exceed the maximum intended load.
Rolling ladders are useful in a variety of commercial settings. They can improve workplace efficiency, help your staff work safely, and be an excellent investment if you regularly stock goods at elevated levels.
By following proper ladder safety procedures, your staff can work at height for extended periods, without the risk of suffering an injury. Rolling ladders offer the benefit of fitting into confined spaces, even when static ladders cannot.
At Shelving + Rack Systems, Inc. we stock a huge range of heavy-duty rolling ladders from reputable brands including Ballymore. To discuss how a rolling ladder can help your business, contact Shelving+Rack, Inc., at (800) 589-7225 or explore our online catalog for our full selection of rolling ladders and lifts to improve the safety of your warehouse.