Second Hand Ladders Put Domestic Users at Risk
Some homeowners are putting themselves at risk by buying second hand ladders, particularly those who only need to use a ladder on the odd occastion. You could be tempted to pick up a used ladder at the dump, especially if it looks intact and as if there’s nothing wrong with it. Or you may even get a ladder donated by a friend or family member who has replaced an old ladder with a shiny new model. Beware – a ladder can be a dangerous piece of equipment, never more so than if it’s not in good repair.
If you’re offered a second hand ladder by friends or family, then it could be okay to accept it. Ask why they are replacing the ladder before accepting. If the ladder is being replaced by a more versatile ladder (such as a combination ladder or a multi-purpose ladder) then it’s quite possible that the person offering the ladder is just upgrading to a ladder that will allow them to do different types of jobs. Or they may be replacing their ladder with one of the new telescopic style ladders in a bid to save on storage space or take advantage of how convenient these types of ladder are to transport in an ordinary car.
Explain to the person giving you the ladder that you don’t want to offend them, then question them diligently about the condition of the ladder they are offering you. Ask if the ladder has ever been repaired (a sure sign that it may not be fit to use), ask how long they have owned the ladder and how often they have used it. Make sure that they bought the ladder as new and were not given the ladder by a previous owner. Then perform a basic ladder safety check before deciding whether or not the ladder is safe to use (you can find out how to perform a ladder safety check here).
If you’re considering buying a second hand ladder, then you’ll need to ask the seller the same types of questions as above (don’t forget to ask exactly why they are selling the ladder) and perform a ladder safety check. However, when buying any item of equipment from somebody you’ve never met before, bear in mind that they are in “salesman” mode. Buying second hand ladders could be a recipe for disaster.
If a ladder has been thrown out, there is a reason for that, no matter how “intact” and fit for purpose it looks. Nobody throws away an item of equipment that is in good working order, so leave it where it is, no matter how tempting it is to save yourself a few bob.
Finally, any ladder that has been replaced or thrown out cannot really be relied on as far as safety is concerned. It’s far better to buy a new ladder. If you can’t stand the thought of throwing away what looks like a perfectly good ladder, then why no use your imagination and repurpose the old ladder – here are some great ideas for putting an old ladder to a new use.