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How to transport your ladder securely

Date posted: 30 September 2013

Ladder transportation can be tricky if you are not familiar with the equipment you need to do it, but it is vital that your secure ladders properly so that you avoid accidents on the road, or theft of the equipment while your vehicle is parked.

Longer ladders will be impossible to squeeze into your car, however, and some are unlikely to fit into a van either.

For transportation on the roof of your vehicle, commercial ladder handling system solutions do exist – helping you load and unload ladders onto the van's roof from ground level using sophisticated gas-assisted lifting. But for those of us who are only transporting a ladder once, or occasionally, on our own car or small van, there are more low-tech solutions. These usually involving securing the ladder to roof bars or a roof rack. If you plan to carry a ladder in this way, you you will need familiarise yourself with the legal requirements. For the UK these can be found under section 26 of the VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) Operational Manual. It is important to stay within the maximum overhang on both the front and back of your vehicle. At the time of writing, the requirements are:

Rear overhang

  • Less than 1 metre: No requirements.
  • 1 - 2 metres: You must render the overhang clearly visible, for example marking it with a bright cloth or a high visibility vest. This needs to be clearly visible within a reasonable distance to a person using the road.
  • 2 - 3.05 metres: You will need a rear marker board.
  • More than 3.05 metres: You must give the police two working days notice.

Front overhang / projections:

  • 0 - 2 metres: No requirements.
  • 2 - 3.05 metres: You will need a front and side marker board.
  • More than 3.05 metres: You must give the police two working days notice.

Tips for safe transportation

Once you have calculated the overhang and are certain that your vehicle can transport the ladder safely, you will need to close the ladder (if it is an extension ladder) and draft in some help to carry and lift it onto the vehicle's roof. If you cannot get any help, make sure you carry the ladder with the top of it tilted upwards.

Lay the ladder on the roof of the vehicle against the roof rack or between the bars. Secure it at the front and back using ladder clamps, ropes, bungee cords or other ties.

Take a short test drive with the ladder on over a short distance, turning some sharp corners and breaking hard to check that the ladder does not shift.

Avoiding theft

A quick pit stop at a petrol station or a shop could provide thieves with the perfect opportunity to swipe your ladder if it is not well-secured. It is worth marking your ladder with a security UV pen to help police if it is stolen, but this is only really helpful if the thief trades in the ladder for scrap (since scrap metal can attract good money). It is far better to try to deter thieves in the first place by using visible ladder clamps that are designed to secure your ladder to your vehicle. If the ladder looks difficult to steal, thieves may not bother trying. This is a relatively cost-effective solution and provides you with an easy way to secure your ladder in comparison with using ropes, bungee cords or other ties. It protects the ladder against thieves because of the security eyelets on each clamp which enable you to fasten your own padlock through the arm and horizontal clamp bar. Once opportunist thieves see heavy duty padlocks securing your ladder, they may go elsewhere to find an easier target.

Best at hire - Delivery & Collection Ladder Service

At Best at hire,when you rent a ladder you can also opt for our delivery and collection service should you not wish to collect from the store yourself. Please ask for details when enquiring.

Related Articles for working with ladders

Safe use of ladders and step ladders

Safety in window cleaning using portable ladders

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