Avoid injury with this pre-use ladder inspection check
Falls from height remain one of the biggest sources of injuries in the workplace. Carrying out a detailed pre-use inspection can significantly cut the risk of a ladder fall or accident.
Around 9,000 are seriously injured in work accidents each year in the UK.
A significant number of these accidents are the result of falls from ladders and stepladders. The panel of solicitors regularly handle ladder accident claims on behalf of injured staff.
Every time you use a ladder you should carry out a visual pre-use inspection to make sure that it is safe for use. This check provides the opportunity to pick up any defects in the ladder before it causes an accident.
What does a pre-use ladder check involve?
The actual steps you should take are specified in the instruction manual.
It is important that you follow the manufacturer's instructions as the inspection process may vary depending on whether the ladder is fixed, portable, extending, combination or a stepladder.
As a rough guide, the checklist below explains some of the most important things to look for in a pre-use visual inspection.
- Check the stiles - make sure the stiles are not bent, twisted or split as the ladder could collapse.
- Check the feet - worn, damaged or missing feet could cause the ladder to slip.
- Checks the rungs - bent, missing or loose rungs could cause the ladder to fail.
- Check the locking bars - if the locking mechanisms of an extension ladder are bent, worn or damaged or the ladder could collapse. Also check the locking mechanism is fully engaged before use.
- Check the treads - if the treads are contaminated with dirt or debris they could become slippery.
- Check the stepladder platform - if it is split, loose or buckled the ladder could become unstable or collapse.
When should a ladder check be carried out?
A pre-use ladder inspection should be carried out:
- before the ladder is used for any task
- each time something changes, for example, the ladder is dropped or repositioned from soft ground (soil, sward) to a solid surface (concrete, paving stones). This is to ensure that the foot of the ladder and not the dirt is making contact with the ground.
What happens if defects are spotted?
If you spot any of the above defects, do not use the ladder and notify your employer immediately.