We’ve all been there: Your ladder looks fine. It's standing straight. So it's ready to go, right?
Not necessarily. According to the CDC, ladders are involved in more than 80% of fall injuries among construction workers. To reduce the risk, OSHA has a long list of requirements for ladders at worksites, including an inspection before every shift. So, if you haven't already, you should consider making it a habit.
A good inspection doesn't have to take a lot of time, and it can save you a lot of money and grief. Think of it as a warm-up. Sure, you could climb straight into the action, but you’re risking a potential injury, or worse. But, where do you start? Here are some things to keep in mind from our friends at weeklysafety.com:
- Always visually inspect ladder feet to ensure that foot pads and feet assembly are present and in safe condition. Damaged or missing feet pads can cause you to slip or lose balance and fall.
- Inspect the rungs, rails, lock (dawgs), rope, and pulley assembly of an extension ladder and be sure that all parts work properly.
- It is very important to make certain that the rope and pulley are working and that the ladder locks (dawgs) do not slip!
- Never attempt to repair a defective ladder. Do not use wire, screws, bolts, duct tape or electrical tape as a way to fix any ladder. Instead, tag it as dangerous and remove it from service.
- Inspect the top cap, steps, side rails, and locking braces on a step ladder before using.
- Loose locking braces or spreaders can cause the ladder to wobble and become unstable.
- Ladder inspections should include making sure that labels are readable and haven't been painted over or damaged.
- Check the rungs and steps for mud, grease, or dirt to avoid potential slip/fall hazards.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for proper inspection and use of the specific ladder.
- Never use a folded step ladder as an extension ladder!
Roofers Mart sells top-of-the-line ladders from Louisville Ladder. The industry-leading manufacturer engineers its products to meet or exceed all ladder safety standards set by ANSI and OSHA. Its ladders are tough and can withstand abuse. But we still encourage you to regularly inspect your equipment.
And finally, if you're worried your ladder doesn't meet safety standards, don’t risk it. Let's say that again: Don’t risk your health — or even your life — just to save some time and money. Instead, talk to a professional, borrow a safe ladder from a friend, or get a new Louisville Ladder from Roofers Mart.