How safe is your Ladder?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by Bob #2 posted 11-02-2010 08:27 PM 2475 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4014 days

11-02-2010 08:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip ladders step stools

About a year and a half ago I bought a three step stool for the shop because it was clearly marked for weights up to 300 pounds.

About a month ago it failed on me with the bottom step pulling loose and driving me to the ground.
Now normally with an inexpensive step stool like this I might’ve just chucked it out and bought something else but because I felt it was a safety concern I contacted the manufacturer.( it should have been rated for 200 lbs or maybe less)
They were very concerned and suggested I first return to the store I purchased it from and obtain a stronger model.
I scrounged around trying to find my bill but after searching all my usual stashes I was unable to find the receipt .
At any rate, I went back to the store where I purchased the step stool where was introduced to actually spent some time with the return clerk from hell.
She was rude, she was impudent ,she was condescending, and she was uncooperative.

After much back and forth I coaxed her into calling for supervisor.

She spoke with the supervisor on her telephone and when she hung up she told me to go to the ladder department and pick up a replacement.
I should point out here that I had with me a letter of authorization from the manufacturer along with their telephone, fax number and e-mail.
The supervisor didn’t show up so I had no chioce but to deal with this clerk.

She refused to even look at this document and had insisted no bill no refund.

There were no replacements. Just more step stools like the one I purchased an all still marked as supporting 300 pounds.
To make a long story short, I left the store and contacted the manufacturer again.
They seemed very concerned now that this simple transaction was escalating beyond what should normally have taken place.
When I sent them pictures of my problem and my concerns they immediately authorized the return of the defective product and subsequently authorized the shipment of their best 4 foot commercial ladder for my trouble.

From stepstool failure

To be honest, it was more than I had expected. I would’ve preferred my money back or store credit toward the purchase of a better product.
Not only did they take care of me with respect to returning my defective product by issuing a prepaid call tag but in addition they shipped my replacement product by next day service to my door.
This new product is without question top-of-the-line and I was astounded at the detail and craftsmanship this little ladder has.
From stepstool failure

Lesson learned here is quite simply do not shop at low end stores that carry cheap toasters , cheap bicycles, cheap shoes, cheap tires and carloads of miscellaneous crap imported and sold to the lowest bidder. I am cured!

Pictures I’ve included pretty much speak for themselves.
The new ladder rock solid and I have no qualms at all about using this around my shop.
Every step is braced the steps are wider and heavier gauge the struts are wider and heavier gauge and the whole thing is built like a tank.
The safety sticker on the ladder says plainly that this product is both CSA and ANSI compliant.

From stepstool failure

In this day and age it’s great to feel that there are still manufacturers out there willing to step up to the plate when problems occur.

As for the retailer, I have had in the past, experienced unrewarding and disappointing service on bicycles, auto repairs and now the step stools It is highly likely that I will ever return to their stores in my lifetime.
Some folks shouldn’t be in business.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

34 replies so far

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3188 days

#1 posted 11-02-2010 08:42 PM


Glad it was not a higher step that failed, nice replacement ladder though.

Thanks for sharing this.

Good Luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4014 days

#2 posted 11-02-2010 09:03 PM

Rick I learned my last lesson with cheap ladders back in 2008 when this unit collapsed under me and wrecked my back and foot. I was lucky it didn’t puncture my gut on the way down. No more cheap ladders for me!

From new shop

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4014 days

#3 posted 11-02-2010 09:04 PM

sorry, duplicate ??

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3284 days

#4 posted 11-02-2010 09:12 PM

Ladders are big liability. I’m not surprised the manufacturer offered you the top of the line model. I am surprised they didn’t do it immediately.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Gary's profile


9330 posts in 3426 days

#5 posted 11-02-2010 09:15 PM

Bob, would you let us know the name of the manufacturer that took such good care of you?

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4014 days

#6 posted 11-02-2010 09:29 PM

Hi Gary: The company that took care of me is Lite Ladders]
Here’s the URL:

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View KnickKnack's profile


1088 posts in 3559 days

#7 posted 11-02-2010 09:39 PM

Whilst I agree with all the above – I think we’ve missed a small(ish) pointlet along the way.

As I understand it the ladder was rated at 300lb, and had a sticker to say so. Regardless of whether you buy this from a “cheap” shop, regardless of the brand or the place of manufacture, surely in this day and age you ought to be able to trust what the sticker says – I thought we’d done the “you can’t lie to a customer” thing several decades ago.
If this manufacturer accepts that their 300lb ladders don’t work then they need to get them all off the shelves now before someone gets seriously hurt.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

View Tromni's profile


7 posts in 2761 days

#8 posted 11-02-2010 09:53 PM

I have really enjoyed using ladders by Little Giant. We used them exclusively at the theater I worked in, often carrying heavy lighting instruments with us to the very top of the ladder.

They’re definitely pricey, but they are built like tanks and are both stable and sturdy over the long haul.

-- Mark - Springfield, Virginia

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4014 days

#9 posted 11-02-2010 09:53 PM

Knickknack: while agree with your assesment you have to realise that that is not my end of the deal.
They may very well be doing that as we speak.
I was /am speaking to them stepping forward and making my complaint a priority for them.
What does surprise me more is the retailers position on this . When I visited their store they had a whole 10×10 foot bin filled with the product on sale all with the (improper??) stickers on them.
In Canada there is no department of Government in which to lodge a complaint even if you have a legitmate beef so you are pretty much on your own here.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4393 days

#10 posted 11-02-2010 10:11 PM

Bob, glad that you were able to get satisfaction, eventually.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2873 days

#11 posted 11-02-2010 10:55 PM

My best advice for everyone – NEVER trust ANY ladder. Anytime I am climbing any type of ladder I am always prepared to take a fall. Balance is a big key to safety also. If you have large tools up there or you are working with both hands you better be well balanced.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3815 days

#12 posted 11-03-2010 01:33 AM

Bob, I really enjoy hearing stories like this that have a “happy ending”. It seems that, with a number of companies, customer service tends to be almost an afterthought if it begins to intefere with profits.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4014 days

#13 posted 11-03-2010 01:52 AM

I’ve spend the better part of my life dealing with manufacturers and distributors.
Right now there seems to be an almost incredible gap between the manufacturer and the end user, as if that portion of the puzzle was unimportant.
Lack of communication and total lack of basic business skills seem to be at the epicenter of the problems. Mid size companies seem to parachute management in from University courses and pretty much let these folk develop a marketing plan. It usually is bas on hypothetical and theories and fails to address the needs of the retailer and or the customer.
Had a manufacturer call to say that my quarterly sales report was late. I had to tell them that my last order to them was first lost then shipped to a dealer 800 miles from me. The customers purchased elsewhere as they could not wait.
The answer I got was that this was going to impact my quarter to date sales??

Called another today to ask why he had charge $40.00 shipping for a parcel they have usually sent to us for $12.00.
answer… READY FOR THIS .. If we want it insured that’s what we have to pay or get it somewhere else!
We have done business with this company for 35 years. This fool has been there less and 6 months.
The $12.00 shipments also had insurance .
It’s definitely not my fathers world.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18265 posts in 3669 days

#14 posted 11-03-2010 03:50 AM

Sounds like there is no hope for those people! Glad you got out of this scrape ok. I noticed on your picture the foot being labeled suitable for soft dirt. No ladder leg is suitable for soft dirt! Put a 2×4 under it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4014 days

#15 posted 11-03-2010 03:57 AM

Well you got me on that. I simply meant that without the flat foot added to the end of the leg the legs push right into the dirt. I had one previously that had little rubber shoes over the ends of the angle metal.
I usually put a scrap of plywood down when I’m up next to the house or shop.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

showing 1 through 15 of 34 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics