Today we have a guest post from Tom Trainor,  the founder of Anchored.com.au,  a height equipment company  based in Melbourne, Australia. Here’s his post about ladder inspection:

When it comes to working at heights, it’s important to have the right height safety equipment, including ladders, in order to do the job well and safely. However, as with any other equipment, time can take its toll, and that’s why it’s crucial to do regular safety inspections to make sure your equipment is in great working condition.

Here are a few tips for your next inspection:

Check slip-resistant pads/ladder Feet

Before attempting to step on a single ladder step, you need to ensure that the slip-resistant pads are present and in excellent condition – free of any tears or damage which may be caused by regular usage. If not, you could end up slipping and falling, possibly ending up with serious, preventable injuries caused by negligence.

Find possible cracks

Regular ladder safety inspections should include checking for any cracks to the frame. Overuse, transportation and hard-handling methods could all lead to minor cracks, leading to serious problems when working at heights.

Locate signs of corrosion

Corrosion often occurs in areas with an abundance of moisture in the air, such as coastal towns. Having said that, keep a close eye on any signs of corrosion which could cause the ladder structure to become weaker than usual.

Check locks and braces

The last thing you want when working at heights is to slip and fall simply because your equipment failed. Thus, before setting up, check that all locks and braces are working as they should in order to avoid an accident in the middle of a job.

Assess the ladder type

You can’t expect to do heavy-duty work with a domestic ladder, which is why it’s important to get the correct ladder for the job. Class I ladder are used for heavy-duty tasks, Class EN131 can be used for everyday work, and Class III is meant for domestic use.

Check for surrounding hazards

Do you notice any oil spills which may cause the ladder to slip? Also, make sure the ground is firm and level. Sandy and uneven ground is not the right place to put your ladder. Be sure to check for surrounding hazards before climbing any ladder.

A suitable leaning surface

Apart from having a strong and reliable ladder, you also need to ensure that the surface the ladder is leaning on is strong enough to withstand the force. If not, you may end up on the ground with a perfectly fine ladder.

Inspect the locking mechanism.

If you’re using a stepladder, you need to ensure that the locking mechanism is in an excellent working condition to keep the ladder from folding while you are on it. Does it lock in place as it should? Or is the lock loose or broken?

Remember three points of contact

When using any type of ladder, always have both hands and one foot or both feet and one hand on the ladder at all times. Losing your balance can happen in an instant, so having three points of contact could potentially save your life.
Ensuring your ladder is in excellent working condition before using it may save you from a nasty fall and unnecessary injuries as well as OSHA issues. By conducting regular safety inspections on height safety equipment and ladders, you’re able to enjoy peace of mind knowing you and your employees will be safe. Remember, prevention is more cost-effective than trying to fix a mistake.