I was sitting on an airplane first thing yesterday morning, ready to head to the next city. The pilot announced over the intercom that he had found an oil leak during his pre-flight inspection and was having a mechanic check it out. The leak turned out to be something very important, so we had to get off the plane and start making other arrangements. It has made for a long day in airports, but a safe day.
It’s easy to overlook or justify small imperfections because they might lead to delays. I’m glad my pilot didn’t and I hope you won’t overlook small imperfections when doing ladder inspections.
How often should you inspect your ladder? Each ladder should be inspected each time you use it! It doesn’t have to be a big, long inspection, just look over the ladder to check a few key things.
1) Feet – Ladder feet are like the tires on your vehicle. If the tread is worn, get them replaced. Don’t climb a ladder with worn out feet. Also make sure you check to see if the feet are cracked. Cracked feet can split, resulting in a ladder accident.
2) Side Rails and Rungs – If any part of your ladder is bent, cracked, broken or split, don’t climb it. Also make sure the rungs and rails are free from oils or dirt that might be a slip hazard.
3) Locks and Spreaders – make sure they all lock in place. If any of the locks or spreaders don’t work, don’t climb the ladder.
4) Connections – make sure all the bolts and rivets are there and that they are tight. You don’t want the ladder moving underneath you.
Remember to take a few seconds before you climb to do a safety inspection. Those few seconds might save your life. Climb Safe, Climb On!