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24 Aug 2023

How to inspect a ladder 

Ladder owners must be aware of the risks associated with working on a ladder and take the necessary precautions before doing so. One such precaution is performing a pre-use check before each use to ensure there are no signs of damage to your ladder. A damaged or faulty ladder could collapse with you on it and cause a nasty fall.

To avoid this, here's a handy guide on how to inspect a ladder...


Ladder inspection checklist

According to HSE (Health and Safety Executive), you must check the following when inspecting a ladder:


1. Stiles

Make sure the stiles (also known as the side rails) are not bent or damaged in any way, or else the ladder could collapse beneath you.

2. Feet

Check to see if they are missing, worn, or damaged. Make sure the anti-slip surfaces are also undamaged. If so, the ladder could slip as you use it.

3. Rungs

Are they bent? Worn? Missing? Loose? If so, you could fall while using the ladder.

4. Locking mechanism

For extension ladders, check to make sure the locking mechanism is in good condition. If it isn’t, the fly section may collapse, bringing you and the rest of the ladder with it. You should also ensure any locking bars can be fully engaged for maximum safety while using the ladder.

5. Pulley ropes

Are they frayed or worn in any way? If so, they could snap and cause the ladder to collapse.

6. Fixings

Make sure they’re all tight, in place, and show no signs of severe corrosion or wear.

7. Labels

Any labels on the ladder should be securely attached and legible to a layman.

8. Ladder stay

If you use a ladder stay, make sure it isn’t corroded, worn, buckled, or warped, otherwise it may not be able to keep the ladder standing against the surface you’re working on.

9. Cleanliness

Make sure the ladder is as clean as it can be, and that there is no paint on the ladder that might be covering any of the above defects.


If you spot any of the above defects, you should not use the ladder. You should instead tell the person in charge, and you may need to replace the ladder.

Before using any kind of ladder, it’s important to make sure the ladder is safe to use. To avoid putting your health and safety at risk, you should only use ladders that are completely free of damage and defects.

If you use a ladder for work, you should conduct a quick visual check before each use. You should also carry out a more thorough inspection approximately 2 to 4 times a year (depending on how often you use the ladder).

Detailed visual inspections are the responsibility of the employer, and a record of each inspection should be kept for future reference.

Do you need to replace your ladder? Here at Ladders UK Direct, we have a wide range of leaning ladders available at competitive prices – and we offer free delivery on all orders!

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