When working at height you are effectively putting your safety in the hands of your access equipment. This means that if you are using any kind of ladder you need to carry out regular inspections to ensure that it is safe to use.

The two inspections you need to carry out

The first thing to note about ladder inspections is that there are actually two separate types of inspections that should be carried out on a regular basis. The first kind of inspection is a detailed visual review which needs to be carried out by a competent or qualified person. How to carry out these inspections will depend on the make and model of the ladder, and you will find details of how to do so in your manufacturer’s handbook.

The second form of inspection is one that you need to do every time before you use the ladder. This is a pre-use inspection that give you the peace of mind to know that you are working on equipment that is stable and secure.

Carrying out a pre-use inspection

The pre-use inspection is something that you should do every time before you go up a ladder. And this also applies any time that something changes, for example, if the ladder is dropped, or has to be moved to another location. You need to check the following aspects of the ladder:

  • The stiles must be in good condition and not bent or split.
  • Every rung should be in working order – not bent, loose or missing. You should never attempt to climb a ladder with broken or missing rungs.
  • The feet should not be worn, damaged or dirty.
  • The treads should be dry and not slippery.
  • The locking bars must work and should not be bent, damaged or excessively worn.
  • Stepladder platforms must not be split or buckled to ensure that they are safe to stand on or work from.
  • The whole of the ladder should be free from dirt and rust.  

How often should a ladder be inspected?

As has already been mentioned, you should carry out a quick pre-use inspection yourself before each time you climb the ladder. But the formal inspection needs to be conducted at least once every six months, and it is important for records to be kept of these inspections. If you are worried about your ladder and would like to get it replaced, please get in contact with us