Ladders are used in a variety of settings by different kinds of people. Carpenters and builders use them on construction sites, office workers use them to reach items on tall file cabinets or shelves and homeowners all over the world use them for do-it-yourself projects. Before stepping on that first rang, go over your ladder-safety inspection checklist to help prevent an accident that could cause serious injury or property damage.
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Test each rang on your ladder before you step on it by grabbing the rang and seeing if you can spin it or move it by hand. If the rang can be moved, it is not stable enough to support your weight. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for securing a loose rang, or replace the ladder for safety.
For wooden ladders, listen for any cracking sounds as you step on each rang. Wooden ladder rungs can rot from the inside, and it may not become apparent that they are damaged. If you hear a crack on a wooden ladder, get off the ladder immediately. Also check the rungs for material that may cause slipping such as liquids, dried paint or adhesive.
A ladder should have anchors at the bottom of each side that are designed to hold the ladder in place on most surfaces. The anchors are normally adjustable and ridged for added traction. Check to make sure that your ladder anchors move freely so that they can adjust when you stand the ladder up. If you will be placing your ladder on concrete, wood or any other potentially slick surface then be sure that the anchors have rubber on them to give more grip.
Braces and Supports
Stepladders have braces to hold the ladder in position. Extension ladders have hooks that are designed to support your weight when on the top part of the ladder. Make sure your braces and supports lock in place, and that they are fully functional before climbing on to your ladder.
Some extension ladders use ropes to make extending and securing the ladder easier. Check the ropes on extension ladders to make sure they are not frayed or broken. Replace any ladder rope that is frayed or broken.
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