Ladder accessories are designed to improve ladder safety. Some common items are as follows:
Ladder levelers are adjustable feet that can be attached to the base of aluminum and fiberglass straight and extension ladders. The purpose of ladder levelers is to provide a safe way to level a ladder on an uneven surface. It is not recommended to wedge something under one of the feet. Never use a ladder if it does not have a solid footing.
There are several different brands of ladder levelers available. Some are OSHA rated while others are not. They are generally sold with mounting hardware and instructions. The installation of levelers is fairly simple.
Most ladder levelers adjust up to 8-9 inches. This maximum amount of adjustment is adequate for most situations. Some levelers adjust up to 18 inches.
Ladder stabilizers mount to all kinds of extension ladders. They increase the stability at the top of the ladder by creating a wider distance between contact points. When ladder stabilizers are mounted properly, they are positioned between the ladder and the wall of the house.
Because a ladder stabilizer allows the ladder to stand off from the wall, it can improve your position and give you a better reach. This can make it much easier to reach fascia boards and gutters. A ladder stabilizer can also straddle windows that are not too wide, making it safer in many instances. Ladder stabilizers do not allow ladders to be positioned close to corners. This makes it more difficult to paint corner eaves and trim.
There are two types of stabilizers that are available.
Fixed ladder stabilizers easily mount to the top two rungs of the ladder. They typically can carry loads consistent with extension ladders for all duty ratings not to exceed 300 pounds. Verify the load rating before using stabilizers. The fixed ladder stabilizer typically spans 42-48 inches and stands off the wall about 10 inches.
Adjustable ladder stabilizers mount to the side rails of aluminum and fiberglass extension ladders. The width and depth is adjustable, giving these stabilizers more versatility.
Ladder stabilizers should only be used for their specific purpose. Do not use them to hold scaffold planks. Do not use them for a step. Always follow the instructions accompanied with the ladder stabilizer.
Paint pot hooks are simple, but indispensable ladder accessories. The hook hangs over the extension ladder rung, holding the paint pot at the outside of the ladder rail. This allows you to keep one hand free to hold on to the ladder.
Ladder mitts are durable urethane pads that cover the top ends of the side rails for aluminum, fiberglass, and wood extension ladders. They help to protect the surfaces that extension ladders are in contact with from damage.
Always follow manufacturers directions when using ladder accessories. The United States Department of Labor provides a website outlining ladder safety precautions containing specific requirements designed to ensure worker safety.