Why are ladder inspections important?

Posted on 18th Jul, 2013 | By Lorretta Tatham


We are regularly asked the question, “why are ladder inspections important”, so we thought we’d explain with the following story.

Two roofing experts were about to inspect and repair a flat roof, using a 30-foot extension ladder to gain access.

The Type IA Fiberglass ladder, which was rated for a load capacity of 300 pounds, had been inspected and was only two months old – while the technician weighed approximately 160 pounds.

Moreover, the ladder hadn’t been damaged or exposed to any harsh conditions.

Whilst the technician was climbing the ladder it began to give way.

Fortunately, he managed to grab the roof edge as the ladder was collapsing. The other worker got another ladder from their truck, and managed to get him down without an accident.

What was wrong with the ladder?

Upon close examination from the company, it turned out that 20% of their fiberglass extension ladders had very small cracks in the side rails next to their rungs.

As well as this, some of parts of fiberglass material had split.

It’s possible that the fiberglass was damaged during the manufactured process when the rungs were crimped into the side rail of the ladder.

So what does this teach us?

A quick visual inspection is not always enough. In this case, workers must check for cracks by feeling for raised spots in fiberglass with their fingers and must remove debris along the side rails in the areas.

It is vital to inspect every rung on both the exterior and interior side of the side rail for any signs of cracks or splits in the fiberglass.

Any ladder showing these defects should be removed from service.

At Browns, we offer On-Site Ladder Inspections that can be carried out at 3, 4 or 6 monthly intervals.

The inspection, of all access equipment within the factory site, from general ladders and steps to machine stairways, tower scaffold and work platforms.

We will come on-site to make sure that all your access equipment is inspected, tagged, coded, dated and registered.

If any items are found to be faulty, we can repair or replace with the least amount of interruption to work as possible.

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