Article 2/7 in Ladder Safety Guidelines Ladder inspection requirements.
Checking your ladder for safety cannot be left to chance. Before using a ladder, refer to the user instructions from the manufacturer if available for a guide on ladder inspection requirements, but in any case you should always carry out your own ‘pre-use’ checks for any obvious visual defects prior to using the ladder.
Ladder Safety Guidelines Article index
Ladder Safety Guidelines Ladder Inspection Requirements.
A pre-use check should be carried out:
- By the person using the ladder
- At the beginning of the working day
- After something has changed, eg a ladder has been dropped or moved from a dirty area to a clean area (check the state or condition of the feet)
The check should include:
- The stiles – make sure they are not bent or damaged, as the ladder could buckle or collapse.
- The feet – if they are missing, worn or damaged the ladder could slip. Also check the ladder feet when moving from soft/dirty ground (eg dug soil, loose sand/stone, a dirty workshop) to a smooth, solid surface (eg paving slabs), to make sure the actual feet and not the dirt (eg soil, chippings or embedded stones) are making contact with the ground.
- The rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing or loose, the ladder could fail any locking mechanism – does the mechanism work properly? Are components or fixings bent, worn or damaged? If so, the ladder could collapse. Ensure any locking bars are fully engaged.
- The stepladder platform – if it is split or buckled, the ladder could become unstable or collapse the steps or treads on stepladders – if they are contaminated, they could be slippery; if the fixings are loose on the steps, they could collapse.
If you spot any of the above defects, do not use the ladder and tell the person in charge of the work.
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