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Thread: Aluminum Can Be Dangerous

  1. #1
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    May 2003
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    Aluminum Can Be Dangerous

    I have never liked aluminum ladders, beside our profession and the obvious dangers, they always felt flimsy to me. There is one EC in our area that I have seen Aluminum extension ladders on their trucks.

    Anyway

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...=.f83fab23878f
    Brian John
    Leesburg, VA

  2. #2
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    Conductivity issues aside, there are different grades of aluminum ladders. Many are indeed flimsy, but there are more robust ones available - for a price!

  3. #3
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    I don't think I'd want a fiberglass ladder I was holding to come into contact with a HV line either. I know fiberglass is an insulator, but if there is some moisture, or dirt or crud on the ladder that might be enough to conduct high voltage.

  4. #4
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    I work with ladders every single day, extension ladders as often as step ladders. Some of my ladders are 26' long to service HVAC equipment on two-story or commercial rooftops. Using a heavy fiberglass ladder for that got old. I only weigh 150#. I don't need a ladder rated for 300#. The 225# aluminum ladder is MUCH lighter. I also look for overhead power lines on every job.

    A fiberglass ladder stored outdoors here, like on a ladder rack, takes only a year or two to start exposing enough fibers to irritate the skin while moving and using it.

    Each has advantages.

    Where exactly is the power coming from on these ladder accidents? All the overhead power lines, that I've seen, that can be reached with a ladder, are insulated, but with a bare neutral messenger. Is it coming from the neutral, paralleling to ground through the ladder and person? Is there damaged insulation on the hots? Are there places with bare conductors low enough to hit with a ladder?
    Last edited by MAC702; 10-11-17 at 04:41 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    Where exactly is the power coming from on these ladder accidents? All the overhead power lines, that I've seen, that can be reached with a ladder, are insulated, but with a bare neutral messenger. Is it coming from the neutral, paralleling to ground through the ladder and person? Is there damaged insulation on the hots? Are there places with bare conductors low enough to hit with a ladder?
    Quite a few homes in my area with individual wires from the xfmr on the pole to the weatherhead. Some have little to no insulation remaining. The utility will come out and replace with triplex if you call them, but as long as it works, most people let it ride.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by retirede View Post
    Quite a few homes in my area with individual wires from the xfmr on the pole to the weatherhead. Some have little to no insulation remaining. The utility will come out and replace with triplex if you call them, but as long as it works, most people let it ride.
    That's the first thing that came to mind when I read that article. That, and the fact that if the LADDER touched the power line, the LADDER would have conducted. So I think their statement that he was ON the ladder would not be correct. He either was on the ladder and HE made contact with the power line, or he was MOVING the ladder from the ground when the ladder made contact.
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  7. #7
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    We have had 3 instances here About 15 years ago a painter was on the ladder and touched the overhead while painting around the Weatherhead, a few years before that a painter was carrying a ladder and came in contact with the MV line and this one.

    Seems painting can be dangerous.
    Brian John
    Leesburg, VA

  8. #8
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    I can't believe ladders are legal.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    I can't believe ladders are legal.
    When ladders are illegal only outlaws will have ladders.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    I can't believe ladders are legal.
    they are just a knee jerk response to the law of gravity.
    if we could repeal that......
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