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
- 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.