Okay, I admit it – I don’t like working high. I much prefer keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground. What did you think I meant? When I do have to leave the security of good old terra firma, I want to do it as safely as possible, accomplish my mission, and get the heck back down. Since I have a fair bit of work coming up that will require me to work at a 12’ ceiling height, I decided to invest in a Werner Podium Ladder.
At first glance, the Werner Podium Ladder resembles a regular orange stepladder. On second glance, there’s a bit more going on. On a regular stepladder, the same treads go all the way to the top, narrowing in width as they go. The treads on the Werner Podium Ladder narrow as they go up, too, but a few feet from the top, they end, and the next step up is a good-sized, very stable platform. The ladder’s legs continue to the top, and there’s actually a guardrail there.
The Werner Podium Ladder is available in several sizes, but they all have a Type IA duty rating, and a 300-lb. Load capacity. They’re made of fiberglass, so for working around electricity, like I’ll be doing, they lessen the chance you’ll become a crispy critter while you’re way up there. Here’s the spec and feature list on the model I bought, followed by a quick informative video from Werner:
• Offers equivalent reach height of a 10 ft. step ladder
• Extra-large platform for long standing comfort
• HolsterTop PRO extended guard rail securely wraps around Work Zone and holds an arsenal of tools
• EDGE360 includes an integrated rail shield, edge bracing and oversized foot pads for security
• Double riveted, slip-resistant, TRACTION-TRED steps offer secure footing
• ANSI certified and OSHA compliant for safe use
• 4X Work Zone to reach all directions:
Base Spread: 68.25”
Industry Standard Ladder Height: 10’
Ladder Height: 10’
Maximum Height to Platform: 8’
Maximum Reach: 14’
Platform Width: 15.5”
Platform length: 20”
Rung/Step Depth: 3”
Step Ladder Maximum Height – Closed: 8’
Step Ladder Minimum Height – Open: 1’
Step Rise: 12”
Storage Depth: 5.5’
Storage Height: 11.25’
Getting High (Up) With The Werner Podium Ladder
I recently put up a new pole building, which will serve as my new shop (woohoo!) and random crap depository. There’s still a bit of finish work to do, including all the wiring for lights and outlets, installing shelving, and putting in a garage door opener for the 10X12’ overhead door. Since the building is located only 20 miles or so south of Lake Erie, installing some insulation may also be on the to-do list…
The ceiling height in the new building is 12’. The Werner Podium Ladder I bought is the Werner PDIA08, which has a reach of 14’. I figured this would give me the height I need to do work below the ceiling, as well as a lot of the wiring, which will be running above the joists.
While I waited for the power company to show up and turn on the juice, I used the Werner Podium Ladder to hoist some scrap 1X12” boards into the trusses, to make a walkway and wiring runway. Once they finally showed up and flipped the switch, I started in on my wiring projects. I decided to get the circuit wired for the garage door opener first, as I was getting tired of the daily manual door workout.
Working while standing on the platform gave me the perfect height to get the wiring run over to the GDO location. To install the device box and outlet, I stood a couple of steps below the platform. It was still a comfortable and stable work perch, and the treads are quite a bit wider than those on a standard stepladder.
The next mission was running lighting circuits, and getting some overhead LED shop lights installed. Once again, the Werner Podium Ladder was very stable and easy to work from. And here’s a bonus HomeFixated tip: If you’re installing shop lights 12’ off the floor, and plan to operate them with a switch, make sure you give all the pull chains a tug before climbing down and removing the ladder.
Random Observations From Way Up High
Getting the Werner Podium Ladder into position requires a bit of muscle, as it’s almost 12’ tall. It’s not a lightweight ladder, but when I’m eight feet off the ground I don’t WANT a lightweight ladder, I want a sturdy, stable ladder. Preferably a VERY sturdy, stable ladder. The Werner Podium Ladder qualifies in both respects.
Once the Werner Podium Ladder is set up, it feels rock solid. The width at the base for both the front and rear sections of the ladder is almost three feet, and the rubber feet are very grippy. The HolsterTop PRO extended guardrail at the top of the ladder has a recessed area good for holding fasteners or small parts. There are also holes just right for holding a hammer or drill, pliers, and a screwdriver or two.
The Werner Podium Ladder also has notches built in to the outer edge of the guardrail. Werner sells accessories to fit those notches, including a paint cup and a lock-in utility bucket. The utility bucket holds a decent assortment of small tools, electrical parts, or whatever. I invested the extra ten bucks and got one; no matter how stable the ladder is, the fewer times I have to make the round trip up and down, the happier my creaky knees will be.
Standing on the platform on the Werner Podium Ladder is a totally different feeling from standing near the top of a standard stepladder, trying to balance yourself by pressing your knees or thighs against the top of the ladder. Having the ability to turn completely around is hugely helpful, and the guardrail makes me feel way more secure than I’ve EVER felt on a stepladder. Standing on the platform is very comfortable, and much easier on the feet than standing with only part of the foot supported on a narrow tread.
Ready To Step Up To The Werner Podium Ladder?
The Werner Podium Ladder comes in several sizes, with reach heights ranging from 9’ – 16’. Contractors, or anyone who works on their home, whether inside or out, are likely to appreciate how much easier it is to work off of these ladders vs. a traditional stepladder. And when the work is done, grab your Frisbee, climb back up, and smash something!
Having the right tools makes just about any job faster – and sometimes safer. The Werner Podium Ladder is definitely the right tool for the job, if the job entails working off the ground for more than a few minutes. The ladder is well designed, very robustly built, and should hold up very well. As a heads-up, most stores don’t stock these ladders; you’ll probably have to order one, and it may take up to a few weeks to arrive, so factor that into your lead time if you have projects coming up.
Aside from the rest of my work inside the shop, the Werner Podium Ladder is just the right size to let me get the gunk out of the gutters on the outside. It will also be a big help in the fall, when we are out getting the apples picked from the upper branches of our tall apple tree. No more balancing on the top rung of the six-foot stepladder – now that’s working safely while high!
The Werner Podium Ladder is available from the Home Depot.
Buy the Werner PDIA10 with 16’ reach
Buy the Werner PDIA08 with 14’ reach
Buy the Werner PDIA06 with 12’ reach
Buy the Werner PDIA04 with 10’ reach
Buy the Werner Lock-in utility bucket: