Whether you’re just carrying out a bit of DIY or you’re using it professionally, a ladder can be a vital piece of equipment for a huge range of maintenance and construction tasks. When there is a task that we need to carry out, many of us instinctively reach for the ladder and get to work as quickly as possible. But it is essential that you should thoroughly check over your ladder each time you use it. Just like any piece of DIY equipment, a ladder will deteriorate with time. And unfortunately a ladder is at most risk of buckling or falling when it is supporting someone’s weight.

No matter how small the job is, you should give your ladder the once-over each time. Here are the six things that you need to check on your ladder before you use it.

1 - The stiles

The first part of the ladder you need to check are the stiles. Running down the side of the ladder, the stiles are arguably the most fundamental part of the equipment. If they are bent or split in any way then you should not use the ladder as it could be at risk of collapsing.

2 - The feet

Make sure that you check the feet of the ladder not only to see whether they are worn or damaged, but also because they could be wet or dirty. This could cause the ladder to slide out from under you while you are using it. Also, make sure that the feet are still present. Modern ladders have rubber stoppers and you should not attempt to use a ladder without them.

3 - The rungs

Check each rung individually, even if you don’t think that you will have to use them. And also never use a ladder that has rungs that are missing or loose. You might think that it is fine to just avoid specific rungs, but you’re simply putting yourself at unnecessary risk.

4 - The locking bars

If your ladder has locking bars then you need to check them over thoroughly to be sure that they work correctly and are not bent or damaged. If the locking bars go, the whole ladder will collapse.

5 - The treads

Make sure you also check over the treads to ensure that they are not slippery or damaged. Once again, if you notice a problem, don’t take the risk. Rather than working on an unsafe ladder, replace the part or get a new one.

6 - The platforms

If you’re using a ladder that has a platform, make sure that this is still strong and will support weight. The last thing you want is for the platform to go while you are standing on it, so check it over thoroughly beforehand. 

If you discover any problems with your ladder you shouldn’t hesitate to replace it. Please contact us at Precipitous and we would be happy to offer advice and guidance on the right ladder for the work you want to carry out.