Homeowners And DIY Enthusiasts - Make Sure Your Ladder Is Up To The Job

Homeowners And DIY Enthusiasts - Make Sure Your Ladder Is Up To The Job

07th July 2014

Most of us in the UK have a ladder of some kind in our homes – a ladder is an essential piece of equipment for all kinds of jobs around the house.  Whether you’re a budding DIY enthusiast or just want to decorate the rooms in the house on a regular basis, a ladder really is a must.  A ladder is even handy for odd jobs like changing light bulbs or reaching high cupboards.  It is much safer to use a ladder than it is to stand on a chair or table to reach cupboards that are difficult to access otherwise.  Many of us will have had the same ladder for years – one that is kept in the garage or garden shed or even a ladder stashed behind a door if there’s no suitable space outside the house anywhere.  Using an old (or inherited) ladder might seem a good idea – however ladder safety is of prime importance and many older ladders just won’t measure up when it comes to health and safety standards in this new century.

It’s vital that you check that your ladder is still in good working order and safe to use however infrequently you actually use it.  Many older ladders can be worn out; some will even have undergone rudimentary home surgery to provide a fix here and there.  Unfortunately, these ladders are just not up to the job and could actually represent a danger when in use.  This is why it’s a good idea to drag out your ladder and give it a good inspection to see if it’s still fit for purpose.  Here are some of the things you will need to look out for when ascertaining whether or not your old ladder is still safe to use.

STEP LADDERS

  • Check that the locking bars on the ladder are not bent and that the fixings are not worn or damaged in any way.
  • Check that the rubber feet on the ladder are not worn or damaged – even if your ladder seems stable, worn feet can cause the ladder to slip.
  • Check the stepladder platform – if it is split or buckled, then the ladder is unsafe.
  • Check the treads or steps and make sure they’re not worn, bent, dirty or contaminated in any way.
  • Check the uprights (stiles) to ensure that they are not bent or damaged.

LEANING LADDERS

  • Check that the side pieces (stiles) are in good condition with no damage – bent or split stiles represent a hazard.
  • Check that the rungs on the ladder are not loose or bent (or worse still, missing) to make sure the ladder will be stable.
  • Check that the rubber feet of the ladder are not damaged or worn as this could cause the ladder to slip when being used.

Any ladder that is not in perfect condition should really be considered unsafe to use and should be replaced immediately.  Don’t try to avoid the cost of a new ladder – it doesn’t make sense and could just cost you your health or your life.