Inspecting your ladder for safety

Whether you work at height infrequently or every day, it is imperative not only to know what to look for when doing a ladder inspection, but to be in the habit of doing such inspections on a regular, even a daily, basis.

Inspecting your ladder for safety. Inspection checklist.Inspecting your ladder for safety. Inspection checklist.

Imagine yourself driving in a car and suddenly the brakes aren’t working, it would certainly be an unpleasant surprise. To avoid such situations cars are required to be regularly inspected by the authorities and most people also have their cars maintained by a mechanic on a regular basis. Similarly, in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises while climbing on a ladder, we recommend that you always keep an eye out for any damages and that you carry out a more thorough inspection at least once a year, just like you would with a car.

To start with, always give your ladder a very quick check before use. Make sure it’s in good condition and hasn’t been damages since you last used it. If you are the only one using the ladder you probably have a pretty good notion of its condition, but if it’s used by many people or has been transported you might want to give it a more careful check.

At least once a year you should also give your ladder a more thorough inspection. If your ladders are used very frequently and by many different people you might want to check them a bit more often.

How to inspect your ladder

  • Make sure there are no damages such as dents, cracks or wear on any components.
  • Check that there are no loose screws or rivets.
  • Put the ladder on one side stile and check that there is no lateral movement between the side stiles or play between any components.
  • Check the side stiles under the bottom rung/step extra carefully. Damages here can be very critical and can easily be inflicted if the ladder is handled somewhat recklessly. If the stiles are bent even the slightest, do not use the ladder!
  • Make sure standing surfaces such as the platform, steps and rungs give proper slip protection and are not contaminated by oil, paint, dirt, snow, ice etc.
  • Check all locking devices, hinges, and braces. The side braces are extra important on trestles and double-sided step ladders since there is no platform that acts as an extra restraint.
  • Check that the anti-skids have good friction against the ground. On leaning ladders, the anti-skids are extra important so make sure to keep them in top condition. Check that the grooves aren’t filled with dirt, oil or any other contamination. Make sure the anti-skids aren’t so worn down that the side stile come through the bottom. Also check that the material hasn’t gone hard, it can seriously reduce the friction capacity against the ground. The deterioration of the material is a process that usually takes quite some time so be extra vigilant on older ladders, really old ladders might also have poorer plastics qualities to begin with. The deterioration process may also be accelerated by UV-light so avoid storing the ladder in direct sunlight.
  • Make sure any safety equipment is mounted properly and according to the assembly instructions.

Spare parts

Wibe Ladders offer a wide range of spare parts for our ladders such as anti-skids, wheels, end protection, braces, handrails and shelves. Any part sold as a spare part can be replaced by the user following the assembly instructions. We do not recommend trying to repair any part that is not sold as a spare part.

Note that aluminium components, such as stiles, steps and rungs that are bent cannot be repaired by bending them back into position. When aluminium is bent or dented the material properties are permanently changed. If a ladder is damaged beyond repair, we recommend that it is destroyed to prevent someone else from accidentally using it.

Inspection kit

If you have a large number of ladders to inspect it might be nice to work in a more structured fashion.

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