How are step ladders measured?

Step ladders are well suited to the retail industry, especially in shops where there is a frequent need to reach high shelves. However, one of the problems people tend to face when looking to buy a new stepladder is how to measure a ladder in the first place to suit their needs. The buyer also needs to take into account when measuring a step ladder, the required safety precautions as well as usable space therefore there are two different measurements you should take when measuring a step ladder, which are the open working height, which varies depending on the step type chosen and the closed height, which will affect your storage of the ladders.

Platform steps

Platform step ladders have the top tread as a platform that the user can stand on therefore when choosing platform steps the number of treads tells you how many treads the stepladder has including the platform.

The platform height is the height from the floor to the platform you can stand on. On platform steps it’s safe to work from the platform height.

The overall open height is the measurement from the floor to the top of the knee brace (the top plastic section). The closed height is the length of the step once it’s in its folded position.

The reach height, or working height is typically assumed to be 6ft above the platfom step though this is of course affected by your actual height.

Swingback steps

The number of treads on a swingback step includes all treads including the top plastic section so a 6 tread step ladder has 5 treads plus the very top section. For safety reasons the HSE advises that users should not stand on the top 3 treads. However, according to the EN 131 standard you should not use the top two treads. Where a step ladder only has 3 treads the HSE recommendation is that you should use the bottom tread.

The open height is measured from the floor to the top plastic section when the steps are fully open. The closed height is measured the same but with the step ladders fully closed or in it's folded position.

The reach height, or working height is typically assumed to be 6ft above the recommended working step though this doesn't take into account your actual height.

Taking all these measurements into consideration should ensure you choose the right step ladder for the job, as well as helping to ensure your safety whilst working.