One of the simplest ways to prevent a ladder accident is to have a thorough ladder inspection before you even climb the ladder.

Timing of Inspection

Do an inspection right when you buy your ladder and then before you climb it each and every time. Inspect the ladder for damage if it falls or gets dropped. Before you put the ladder away, inspect it again to make sure nothing from the job has caused any damage.

Ladder Inspection Checklist

  • -Check the rungs to make sure they aren’t loose.
  • -Check the ladder feet to make sure they are not overly worn.
  • -Make sure the screws, bolts and nuts are tight. Inspect the spreaders and locks.
  • -For fiberglass ladders, make sure there are no cracks or warping in the fiberglass.
  • -Also, check the braces, rungs and rails to make sure they are crack-free and not split or worn.
  • -On all ladders, check for rust, corrosion and excessive wear.
  • -Finally, check the labels. If they are hard to read, contact the ladder’s manufacturer.

Special Ladder Inspection Tips for Stepladders

Make sure your ladder does not “wobble.” If it does, either choose another ladder, find a way to level the ground or use a leveler. You also want to check the hinges and spreader bars. If they are bent or won’t lock, take the ladder out of service until the spreader bars are repaired.

Special Ladder Inspection Tips for Extension Ladders

Check the extension locks for any parts that are broken, loose or missing. If you run into issues, take the ladder out of service. Before you climb, extend the ladder and check the locks. Also, inspect the cords, chains, and ropes.

Post-Inspection Steps

  1. Once you complete the inspection, take any ladders that failed the inspection out of service.
  2. Repair ladders with minor issues and if the ladder is past the point of repair, destroy the ladder.
  3. If a ladder is getting destroyed, make sure you make it impossible to use so someone won’t go dumpster diving for it.
  4. For fiberglass ladders, clean the fiberglass every three months to help it last longer.
  5. For extension ladders, take time to replace frayed or worn ropes.

Taking these steps will help your ladder last longer and will help you be safe.

For more ladder safety tips, check out the Little Giant Ladders in-depth safety page.