Timing of Inspection
Do an inspection right when you buy your ladder and then before you climb it each and every time. Inspect the ladder for damage if it falls or gets dropped. Before you put the ladder away, inspect it again to make sure nothing from the job has caused any damage.
The Inspection Should Include…
Check the rungs to make sure they aren’t loose. Check the ladder feet to make sure they are not overly worn. Make sure the screws, bolts and nuts are tight. Inspect the spreaders and locks. In fiberglass ladders, make sure there are no cracks or warping in the fiberglass. Also, check the braces, rungs and rails to make sure they are crack-free and not split or worn. On all ladders, check for rust, corrosion and excessive wear. Finally, check the labels. If they are hard to read, contact the ladder’s manufacturer.
Special Inspection Tips for Stepladders
Make sure your ladder does not “wobble.” If it does, either choose another ladder or find a way to level the ground/use a leveler. You also want to check the hinges and spreader bars. If they are bent or won’t lock, take the ladder out of service until the spreader bars are repaired.
Special Inspection Tips for Extension Ladders
Check the extension locks for any parts that are broken, loose or missing. If you run into issues, take the ladder out of service. Before you climb, extend the ladder and check the locks. Also, inspect the cords, chains and ropes.
Once you complete the inspection, any ladders that failed the inspection out of service. Repair ladders with minor issues and destroy ladders that can’t be repaired. If a ladder is getting destroyed, make sure you make it impossible to use so someone won’t go dumpster diving for it. For fiberglass ladders, make sure to clean the fiberglass every three months to help it last longer. For extension ladders, take time to replace frayed or worn ropes.
Taking these steps will help your ladder last longer and will help you be safe.