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Ladder inspection checklists help prevent accidents

Use digital checklists to conduct your ladder inspection and maintain current safety standards.

What Is a Ladder Inspection Checklist?

The prevention of accidents is the main focus of occupational safety. Regular maintenance of technical equipment, but also the inspection of working conditions contribute to safety at the workplace. This area of occupational safety also includes checking ladders and steps for proper functioning. This is required by law and, according to TRBS 1203, may only be carried out by qualified persons.

The step and ladder inspection must be carried out regularly. The inspection interval depends on the frequency of use and the stress, but must be carried out at least once a year. Performing a ladder inspection on a regular basis also reduces the likelihood of malfunctions.

The dangers of using ladders and steps are often underestimated. Technical defects are rarely the cause of ladder accidents, at about 5% according to accident analyses. Over 90% of falls occur because ladders and steps are used incorrectly. However, this calculation also takes into account the use of unsuitable climbing aids (e.g., chairs, beverage crates, etc.)

For this reason, ladder safety checklists are an excellent support not only for inspectors, but also for training staff in the use of ladders and steps. A checklist can be used to ensure that a ladder or step meets the necessary safety and quality standards required for safe use. In addition, employees can train themselves on how to use the various types of ladders or refresh their knowledge by using special checklists.

This article provides information on the following topics:

1. Inspection points in a checklist for the ladder inspection

2. Inspect ladder before use with checklist

3. A digital tool for ladder inspection

Check Points in a Ladder Inspection Checklist

Basically, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that ladders and steps in her company are in proper condition. To do this, it assigns a capable employee who has practical knowledge of step and ladder inspection. If this is not available, a selected person can be trained and certified in an appropriate seminar at qualified institutions.

A practical checklist helps the inspector to complete all points during the inspection and to plan further inspections. The following key points should be in the checklist of all responsible employees:

Formal details

  1. Inventory no.
  2. Location/Department
  3. Type of advancement
  4. Material
  5. Ladder length and number of rungs
  6. Manufacturer/Distributor
  7. Article/type no
  8. Date of purchase
  9. Date of disposal
  10. Name of the expert/representative
  11. Date of next inspection

Testing criteria

  1. Rungs
  2. Rungs, steps, platforms
  3. Spreading guards
  4. Fittings
  5. Ladder feet, treads, castors
  6. Accessories (e.g. rail extension, wall support)
  7. Control result (usable, repair, discard)

In the test criteria, among other things, deformation, damage, degree of wear and functionality of individual parts are determined. All test results together then lead to a decision on the part of the inspektor: Does the respective ladder or the respective step need a repair, must be discarded or is perfectly functional.

Conduct a Simple Ladder Check Before Use

Before beginning a task, a “pre-use inspection” should always be performed to identify any obvious visual defects and to ensure that the ladder or step is safe to use.

A pre-use inspection should be performed:

  • by the user
  • at the beginning of the work day
  • after something has changed, e.g. a ladder has been dropped or moved from a dirty area to a clean area

The actual inspection items in the associated checklist should follow the instructions below:

Check spars – make sure that the spars are not bent or damaged, otherwise the ladder could buckle or collapse.

Check feet – if they are missing, worn or damaged, the ladder could start to slip. Ladder feet should also be checked when moving from a soft/dirty floor (e.g., dug-up soil, loose sand/stone, a dirty workshop) to a smooth, firm surface (e.g., sidewalk slabs) to ensure that the footing material and not the dirt (e.g., soil, grit, or embedded stones) is touching the floor.

Check rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing, or loose, the user may collapse on the ladder.

Check locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fasteners are worn or damaged, the ladder may collapse. Also, make sure all locking bars are engaged.

Check the platform – if it is cracked or bent, the ladder may become unstable or collapse.

Check steps or treads – if they are dirty, they may be slippery. Also, the ladder or step may collapse if the fasteners on the steps are loose.

If any of the above deficiencies are found during the ladder inspection, the ladder or step should not be used and the employer should be notified.

Use a Digital Tool for Ladder Inspection

With Lumiform, a powerful mobile app and desktop software, ladder inspections can be done more efficiently. All paperwork related to inspections and documentation can be digitized and stored online. This makes it easy to access at any time and from anywhere. The chat function or push messages can be used to immediately inform the team about safety problems with ladders and steps. This ensures that equipment faults are rectified immediately and workplace accidents are avoided.

Other benefits of the digital application for conductor testing include:

  • Perform inspections via the app easily using your smartphone or tablet – online and offline.
  • Generate real-time data via ladder testing. This makes safety measurable and steadily optimizes testing processes based on the data.
  • Always have an overview of everything that happens on site.
  • Improved communication through push messages, chat function and simplified report sharing.
  • Reports are created automatically – this saves complete follow-up.
  • Save all inspection reports securely in the cloud.

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