OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
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.
- Inspect ladders before storing to make sure they are in good condition to store, or need repair, replacement or remove from the site.
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?
- loose or bent hinges and hinge spreaders
- broken stop on a hinge spreader
- loose pail shelf
What should you look for when inspecting extension ladders?
- loose, broken or missing extension locks
- defective locks that do not set 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.
- Tag and take out of service any ladder that is has defects, or is broken or bent. Destroy ladders that cannot be repaired safely by a person authorized by the manufacturer. Ladders should be destroyed in a way that makes them useless.
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.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.