How much thought do you give to ladder maintenance? If you own or use ladders regularly, here’s what you need to know about maximizing ladder safety.
Whether you’re a supervisor at a job site that frequently uses ladders or a DIY-er with a home tool shed and shop, ladder maintenance and safety should be foremost on your mind.
Ladders must be examined by a trained or otherwise knowledgeable person for obvious flaws or deficiencies every time they are used.
In the course of its lifecycle, a ladder might be exposed to circumstances and conditions that compromise its stability. An impaired ladder will be unsafe and ineffective.
Ladder Safety Checks
Whether you’re responsible for the maintenance of equipment at your workplace or maintaining your own tools at home, ladder safety inspections should include checks for the following:
- Ladders should be free of obvious flaws or wear, and every part should be accounted for and sound.
- Every step should be tightly secured to the railings.
- Every piece of hardware must be attached properly and securely.
- Parts that are adjustable should be checked to ensure proper, smooth operation.
- All instructions and warning labels on the ladder should be legible.
- Ladders must be kept clean of contaminants — grease, oil, or solvents — that could inhibit use and create a safety hazard.
- Ladders that have been exposed to corrosive chemicals, fire, or other damaging environmental conditions should be replaced.
- All components — supply shelves, leg levelers, and other movable attachments — are attached and functioning properly.
- The base of the ladder is level, secure, and is skid resistant.
Extension ladders – ladders that have multiple segments that allow users to adjust the length – must be scrutinized carefully because they are constructed differently than single ladders. Moreover, the fact that they are not self-supporting poses significantly greater safety risks to the user. When inspecting extension ladders, please consider the following:
- All pulleys are properly attached, useable, and sound.
- Extension locks are in proper working condition – they can be easily adjusted and lock securely.
- Extension ladder segments have been properly reassembled after use as a single ladder.
Ladder Maintenance Guidelines
Proper care of your ladders will ensure they meet and exceed basic safety standards. Here are a few ladder maintenance tips.
- Routinely clean the ladder’s gripping and climbing surfaces so that they are always free of sticky or slippery substances.
- Always store your ladders in a horizontal position on secure racks.
- Do not store wooden ladders in damp conditions or where they will be exposed to direct heat.
- Never store equipment on your ladders.
- Never exceed the established weight guidelines of your ladders.
If, after inspection, you find that your ladder is seriously compromised beyond the point where it can be repaired or restored to a safe condition, it must be discarded in a way that renders it obviously unusable.
For more than 100 years, the Alaco brand has provided American-made ladders that deliver exceptional performance for every application. Whether you need heavy-duty ladders for heavy-duty work, or beautiful ladders that add style and flair to your home, we offer custom-crafted ladders that will meet your exacting specifications and surpass your highest expectations.
For more information about our services or to receive a quote, please contact our helpful representatives.
Featured Photo by Rene Asmussen