Ladder Safety Right On The Rack

Ladder Safety: Right On The Rack

Ladder racks are extremely useful tools. They convert a vehicle into a safe, effective ladder transport system. They save interior space and make a place for long and over-sized items. They are useful for businesses or other users who frequently move ladders and other large or long items from place to place, such as roofers, cable system contractors, tree service firms, and window cleaning services. Secured with easy to remove straps or ties, the cargo will rest and ride securely, and lift off for use. One can add extra security on commercial vehicles and ladders that will stay on the truck. Drivers may leave commercial trucks in random locations as dictated by business situations; a few tie-down pieces of heavy gauge metal chain and theft resistant locks add extra security.

The effectiveness of ladder racks depends upon safe mounting practices. Truck owners must mount ladders in a balanced position so that when the vehicle moves, the ladders will stay on balance. Secure tie-downs are essential to safety on moving vehicles. Turns, bumps, accelerations and sudden stops all provide forces that could send a poorly balanced or badly tethered ladder in motion. Another frequent concern is driving safety, and red flags and additional tie downs may be appropriate in high winds and high-speed driving. Local rules and regulations sometimes require flags and markers and may restrict the permissible overhang.

Finding the center of gravity of a ladder is a simple and effective way of distributing load evenly. To locate the center of gravity one will need the ladder, a black felt tip marker, and a roll of black weatherproof tape. Set the ladder on the ground in the exact form one will mount and transport it. For a long ladder that extends by sliding up and down, the ladder should be in the shortest form. Set the ladder on its side, with the rungs in a vertical position. Lift the ladder near the middle and allow it to tilt up or down until still. Then move the hands forward or backward until the ladder balances in the hand or hands. Mark the balancing spot with the felt marker, and wrap a piece of black tape around the line. If preferred, one can spray paint a line in a visible color like black or orange to mark the middle balance point.

Mount the ladder onto the rooftop rack lining-up the tape or paint line over the center of the rack. The idea is to make the ladder sit in balance on the vehicle, with as much in front as behind a center point on the ladder rack. Once one finds the center and places the ladder in a solid position, use the ladder-stops as tie posts to secure the ladder. One must secure the ladder on the front and back bars and to at least two tie posts. The driver can tie the ladder with any combination of nylon wraps, bungees, metal chain, or nylon ropes. When attaching the ladder secure it against up-and-down movement and side-to-side shifts. There should be as little movement as possible when one pushes or pulls to test the security.

When carrying more than one ladder, use the same method to mark and mount each. One can make a secure tie-down against up and down movement on the front and rear crossbar. To secure against side-to-side movement, one can attach to the side rails. If the side rails are too far, or if there are several ladders, then one should use a pair of ladder-stops to brace the ladders and hold inside ties.

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