The Podium Series step ladder has an oversize top step that functions as a standing platform and a waist-height guard rail that does double-duty as a tray for small tools and parts. The size of the platform and presence of the rail makes it possible for users to safely and comfortably work facing any direction, and with no possibility they will stand too high on the ladder. Made from fiberglass and aluminum, these ladders have a 300 pound load capacity, a 1A Duty Rating, and will be available with platform heights of 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10 feet. Podium Series ladders are made in Mexico and will be available online in April 2014 and in stores in May 2014 with prices between $150 and $550.

I haven’t used one of these ladders because they are not even out, but I climbed on one at a tradeshow; it felt safer and more comfortable than a standard step ladder. Standing on the platform is like standing on the ground. And with no need to balance on a narrow step or lean into or grasp the guard rail (though you can if you want) you can work more productively.