Ladder Safety – Should Your Ladder be tested?

Some people believe that safety testing a step ladder
can actually weaken it. However if a ladder can be weakened by
safety tests then it’s not actually fit for safe use

There are companies who have a policy of ensuring all
equipment safety tests are carried out by their own maintenance
team. When the equipment has been checked a safety sticker us
applied showing the ladder has passed the test and advising when it
should next be tested. But if you are working in a smaller company,
or you are self employed you can still carry out safety checks
yourself. In fact we recommend it and a lot of checks are actually
visual rather than physical.

Crucial things to look out for are if the ladder is worn
or if it shows obvious signs of weakness. For example if the
non-slip treads are worn down or if you the treads are at all out
of shape. If you can see any signs of rust or deterioration or if
the non-slip feet are no longer gripping securely report it
immediately. If something is niggling you – then get it checked out
straight away. A new ladder needn’t cost a month’s budget and an
accident just isn’t worth risking.

Physical signs of decay can be an indicator of more
serious deterioration so though a visual check at the beginning of
each day may seem minor it can be of enormous benefit. This is
particularly important if your ladder has been left on site
overnight and could have been tampered with.

When testing your ladder for weight bearing make sure you
are certain of the maximum load the ladder is designed for. And
don’t forget the weight the ladder carries is not just yours but
also that of your tools and any other equipment you may have when
using the ladder.

If your ladder has been EN certified or carries a BS
Safety mark then it will have already been tested and proved to be
able to support its load. However it may increase your trust in
your equipment if you see for yourself it can safely support the
max weight before you climb up and start work.

Making sure you lay your ladder down during breaks to
avoid unauthorised use or any other accidents and checking your
equipment visually before each job will go a long way to keeping
you safe on the job.