Ladders And Access Equipment – Watch Out For The Weather

Ladders And Access Equipment – Watch Out For The Weather

09th June 2014

The weather here in the UK seems to go from one extreme to another – we’ve been seeing some of the harshest winters in living memories followed by unseasonably warm weather in the spring and torrential rain in the summer weeks.  This can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to plan days out or holidays in the UK.  These swings in the weather also take a toll on outdoor equipment, especially fixed access ladders and outdoor working platforms.  The extremes of heat and cold can have the fabrication materials expanding and contracting on a regular basis, meaning that regular safety checks are absolutely essential.
 
Outdoor fixtures and fittings of this type suffer severely in the winter months and may be liable to corrosion and rusting which will weaken the equipment.  If you own a business that uses this type of access equipment, then you’ll know that employee safety is your responsibility.  This means that it’s your responsibility to ensure that all pre-use safety checks are undertaken and that the equipment is in good working order at all times.

As well as doing the regular pre-use safety checks, it’s vital that a more detailed inspection is carried out on a regular basis to monitor the condition of the equipment so that it can be repaired or replaced as soon as it begins to show signs of wear or damage.
 
You’ll need to check the pieces of equipment to make sure that all the component parts are undamaged and strong enough to be safe supporting weight – it’s also necessary to check the joints, nuts, bolts, etc and tighten up anything that is showing signs of becoming loose.  Performing this regular maintenance on the equipment means that it will last longer, giving years of service and representing a more cost effective choice in the long run.

You’ll then need to check the areas where the equipment is fixed onto the building or machinery as this can be another point of weakness.  Check that the equipment is still safely bolted to the surface and that the material supporting the equipment is not deteriorating in any way.  Make sure that all of the regular maintenance and repair work is kept up to date – using the equipment if it has weak points will only speed up the deterioration process.

It’s a good idea to schedule these heavy duty inspections at the beginning of the summer and at the beginning of the winter – these are usually the seasons that have the most effect on this type of equipment.
 
If your business is on the coast (rather than inland), then you’ll also need to be on the lookout for salt damage.  Unless your access equipment has been specially treated with a corrosion protection coating, then it’s at greater risk from the elements.