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When should you inspect ladders?

  • Inspect new ladders promptly upon receipt.
  • Inspect ladders before each use.
  • Check the condition of ladders that have been dropped or have fallen before using them again.

What should you look for when inspecting any ladder?

  • missing or loose steps or rungs (they are loose if you can move them by hand)
  • damaged or worn non-slip feet
  • loose nails, screws, bolts or nuts
  • loose or faulty spreaders, locks, and other metal parts in poor repair
  • rot, decay or warped rails in wooden ladders
  • cracks and exposed fibreglass in fibreglass ladders
  • cracked, split, worn or broken rails, braces, steps or rungs
  • sharp edges on rails and rungs
  • rough or splintered surfaces
  • corrosion, rust, oxidization and excessive wear, especially on treads
  • twisted or distorted rails. Check ladders for distortion by sighting along the rails. Using a twisted or bowed ladder is hazardous.
  • missing identification labels

What other things should I look for when inspecting stepladders?

  • wobble
  • loose or bent hinges and hinge spreaders
  • broken stop on a hinge spreader

What should you look for when inspecting extension ladders?

  • loose, broken or missing extension locks
  • defective locks that do not seat properly when ladder is extended
  • sufficient lubrication of working parts
  • defective cords, chains and ropes
  • missing or defective pads or sleeves

What should you do after inspecting any ladder?

  • Tag any defective ladders and take them out of service.
  • Clean fibreglass ladders every three months. Spray lightly with a clear lacquer or paste wax.
  • Protect wooden ladders with a clear sealer or wood preservative.
  • Replace worn or frayed ropes on extension ladders.
  • Lubricate pulleys on extension ladders regularly.

What are some things you should not do after inspecting ladders?

  • Do not make temporary or makeshift repairs.
  • Do not try to straighten or use bent or bowed ladders.
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Document confirmed current on September 30, 2010

Document last updated on April 8, 1999

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