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Ladder inspection tags: How to improve routine assessments for safer working

Braden Lewis

Businesses have a legal duty to ensure ladders are suitable and safe for use. Here's what you need to know on ladder tags to improve routine assessments for safer working.

When operating with ladders or stepladders at work, businesses have a legal duty to ensure they are suitable and safe for use. If an accident occurs due to a faulty ladder, it can result in significant fines as well as serious or life-changing injuries.

Because of this threat, regular ladder inspections must be conducted to protect both your employees and organisation. But who can conduct ladder inspections? How often are they needed? And how can inspection tags be used to ensure all is overseen properly?

In this article, we take a look at answering these questions so that you can provide a safer working environment through ladder inspection tags.

Why are ladder inspections needed?

The importance of ladder inspections is directly connected to the high accident occurrence rate when working at heights. Falls from a height are still the main cause of fatal accidents and injuries in the workplace.

According to the latest HSE statistics, falls accounted for more than 30% of all fatal injuries at work. And from 150 investigated fall-related cases over the last 3 years, 40% of those have occurred from ladders. If not tested and used properly, ladders can become a serious threat.

Ladder inspection tag

Who can conduct ladder inspections?

Ladder inspections should only be conducted by a competent person trained in ladder safety. They must have the necessary technical expertise, training, and experience in ladder work to be considered a competent person.

The person/people responsible for inspecting a ladder must make sure that the ladder:

  • Has no visible defects
  • Has an up-to-date record of the detailed visual inspections done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Is suitable for the intended use (strong and robust enough for the job at hand)
  • Has been maintained and stored in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions

How often should ladders be inspected?

There’s no legally set requirements that tells businesses how often they must conduct ladder inspections. However, HSE does provide recommendations for businesses to follow.

For instance, pre-use checks should be conducted on ladders every time they are used. Formal visual inspections should be carried out as often as deemed necessary, based on the ladders use and risk involved.

As a general guideline, inspect ladders:

  • Every three months if used daily
  • Every six months if used weekly
  • Annually if used less than monthly

Should you retain ladder inspection records?

Equally important as inspecting the ladders themselves is keeping hold of visual records proving inspection. Any incident that may affect the safety of a ladder must be recorded, and each inspection should be noted down too. Inspections are a crucial part of your reporting strategy and can be requested by the health and safety officer if an incident were to happen.

But how exactly should this information be recorded?

What steps should be taken after a ladder inspection?

  • Tag any defective ladders with ladder inspection tags, 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

Does OSHA require inspection tags on ladders?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ladder standards do not require manufacturers to label ladders with instructions and warnings. Manufacturers of ladders attach the labels to provide information for safe use, and to protect themselves in liability action from any misuse of the ladder.

What specifications make for a good ladder inspection tag? 

To ensure complete safety, it is important to implement durable and long lasting ladder inspection tags. Your ladder tags should be:

  • UV resistant
  • Freeze resistant
  • Customisable 
  • Available with VARiTAG® unique numbering
  • Available with QR codes / barcodes

The importance of ongoing evaluation and monitoring of ladder inspections

Just like any other safety initiative, it's important to continuously monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your ladder inspection program. By doing so, you can ensure that your efforts to improve routine assessments are yielding the desired results.

Start by tracking the frequency of ladder inspections. Are they being conducted as recommended by the guidelines? Regularly review inspection reports to identify any recurring issues or trends that may require attention. This can help you pinpoint areas where additional training or maintenance efforts are needed.

Consider implementing a system to capture feedback from employees regarding the ladder inspection process. Are there any challenges or suggestions they have? Actively involving your workers in the evaluation can provide valuable insights and foster a culture of safety.

By regularly monitoring and evaluating your ladder inspection program, you can ensure that it remains effective in promoting safer working conditions. Remember, safety is an ongoing commitment that requires continuous improvement and adaptation to changing circumstances.

Looking for Ladder Inspection Tags?

View product Ladder Inspection Tags

Improve assessments & safety with ladder inspection tags

At REGALTAGS, we understand the importance of ladder inspections and that reliable, visible checks is an essential part in keeping both employees and your organisation safe.

That’s why we recommend the REGALTAGS Ladder Inspection Tag Kit, suitable for use in the toughest of environments. Our fully customisable, UV and freeze resistant ladder inspection tags provide a simple and easy-to-carry-out routine assessment, whilst removing the need for holders which often become damaged or detached.

The kit also provides safety labels to prevent use when not inspected, as well as a vital ladder angle indicator which can be used to quickly establish a safe set up.

  1. Apply the "Do Not Use" label to the left side of the ladder stile.
  2. Secure the Ladder Inspection Tag over the Label.
  3. Apply ladder angle label to the right hand stile at eye level. 
ladder inspection process

If you’re in need of a tagging solution that supports the inspection of ladders, contact our team today. We’re always happy to answer your questions and would love to provide a custom tag solution designed to meet the needs of your business.


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