100% right on. When nd IF you have to be exposed to 'live' conditions, whatever safety equipment, ladders, tools, PPE, etc. is only as good as YOU maintain it.
A way to ponder the expenses of maintaining equipment should start with.."why do I have to do it 'hot'?" I know that sometimes it is part of the beast of our trade, and that is when we have to count on our safety equipment.
I'm thinking that buried somewhere within the paperwork supplied with any safety equip is a CYA about maintaining said equip.
BTW: Another contractor with the same bucket trk that I owned, added a 120 volt GFI receptacle at the bucket area & did an A1 job. Only issue was, the 35KV Cert was shot!
Speaking of CYA, it’s interesting that metal ladders seem to have a UL listing, while on the other hand, fiberglass ladders don’t appear to. At least this seems to be the case with the ladders I own. I’m assuming that this must be one more way for the manufactures to protect themselves from liability if someone gets electrocuted while using their product.
Being that electrical circuits and equipment by their nature are designed to normally be energized, at least on an intermittent basis, I’m still wondering if it may be too much of a stretch in saying they are all likely to become energized unexpectedly, even when LOTO is performed, seemingly eliminating the use of conductive ladders, etc. for electrical work of any type.
Re: AreMetal Ladders Ever OK For Electrical Work?
#195095 07/11/1010:33 AM07/11/1010:33 AM
UL has a variety of ladder standards, including one that specifically addresses fiberglass ladders. All of the evaluations center on the strength and stability of the ladder - there is NO examination of the ladder as to whether it is non-conductive. Ditto for wood ladders.
The thing that actually caught my attention was that the UL label on my 4-ft Werner aluminum step ladder included some wording or warning about it being "electrically conductive", so I assumed that this wording or warning must also be part of the listing. As you say though, this is indeed only pure speculation on my part, since unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything on the subject when searching the UL site.
Another question I have is if a ladder were listed, is there a requirement as a condition of the listing that the ladder to have a UL label affixed to it? The reasons I ask is that none of the fiberglass Werner ladders I own have any UL label on them, even the metal topped step ladders, which can introduce a shock hazard to the user under the right [or wrong] circumstances. These ladders range in age from just a couple of years old to more than twenty, so this makes me wonder why the metal ladder from the same manufacture is UL listed, but none of these fiberglass ladders apparently are.
Re: AreMetal Ladders Ever OK For Electrical Work?
#195098 07/11/1004:16 PM07/11/1004:16 PM
I can't speak to the decisions any manufacturer may make. There is no requirement that the manufacturer 'list' any part of a production run.
Indeed, it's fairly comon for a manufacturer to affix the UL sticker to only part of a production run, or only upon specific request by the customer. UL's position is that no lable = no listing. With the esception of very small items, the UL mark must be on each individual completed item. Small parts can have the marking on the packaging.
Why would a company make perfectly fine items, and not place the UL lable on them? In a word, cost. Firms are typically charged for each lable used; one might even argue that UL owns the lable itself.
You can be sure that UL listing for ladders is a particularly expensive listing. This would be the direct result of our unpredictable, lawyer-driven legal system. If there's ever a suit - and there often are - involving a ladder in the least manner, UL is sure to be named in that suit. While UL is invariably excluded from the suit early in the proceedings, it costs money to respond.
As for your particular ladders, there are other factors that may have come into play. The retailer may have desired a 'special' price. They may have been made elsewhere, in a non-inspected plant, and re-labled on importation. The ladders may have originated with the (now defunct) Keller ladder branch of Werner, over which there were some legal / PR wrangling. Or, the UL lable may have been printed as part of another lable that has since been removed. (Before long, I expect there to be a law requiring all ladders to be at least 8ft. long, just so there's room for all the lables!)
Also, keep in mind that UL does not have as strong a presence in every market; their name may not add much value to a ladder. A classic similar example is the electrical rating of hard-hats; few, if any, have a UL tag on them.
" I was talking to a man last night, and he told me how he had stood atop a 12-ft. ladder to repair a light. This led to a discussion of ladders in general, as well as other ways to reach high places.
The first issue that arises is that, once you pass the 12 ft. mark, ladders become two-sided 'mechanics" ladders. The have a larger footprint, weigh twice as much, cost twice as much, and become incredibly difficult to handle.
I recalled that Little Giant has a "skyscraper" telescoping ladder that will get you to a 21 ft. ladder height (working height around 24 ft.) This ladder, alas, is only made in aluminum.
How else to get 'up there?' Scaffolding? Scissor lift? Boom lift? All can work, but .... none of them have the insulating properties of fiberglass.
So, we have to ask: Why is a 20 ft. aluminum ladder forbidden, but a 20 ft. steel scaffold if OK? "
I've talked to a couple electricians, and they have told me to invest my money in a fiberglass ladder instead of steel or aluminum. However, NFPA 70E requires that the circuit you are working on must be 'electrically safe' . If you follow all PPE/ OSHA requirements, and identify all risks, a steel/ aluminum ladder may be used. Even though using a fiberglass ladder is another way to keep you and others around you safe, it is not a guaranteed tomorrow. It is all up to what you or your contractor(s) require.