This GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk discusses the issues to inspect on a ladder before using it. Click below to download the Toolbox Talk as a handout (includes Sign-In Sheet).




GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk: Ladder Inspections

Falls from ladders make up a large number of incidents on the job site. In addition to proper use, inspecting ladder condition before use can determine if a ladder is safe to use and ultimately reduce falls. Below is a list of items to inspect on a ladder before using it.

Check for the identifying manufacturers label on the side rail:

  • The label provides the ladder’s specifications and capacity information.
  • Ladders with damaged or illegible labels should be removed from service until new la-bels are attached.

Check the condition of the ladder itself:

  • The ladder’s feet should work properly, and slip-resistant pads correctly attached.
  • Steps or rungs should not be missing or loose. They should not be moveable by hand.
  • Steps or rungs should be straight, clean, and not cracked.
  • Spreaders, locks, & metal parts should not be loose, faulty, or in questionable condition.
  • Check for cracks and exposed fiberglass on fiberglass ladders.
  • Check for sharp edges on aluminum ladders.
  • Visually inspect ladders for twisted or distorted rails. Check ladders rails for distortion by sighting along the rails.

Check other parts of the ladder:

  • Ropes for extension ladders should be in good shape with no frays, cuts, or knots.
  • Extension ladder pulleys should move freely and not bind on the rope.

What to do if a ladder is non-compliant:

  • If any ladder has defects, is broken, or is bent, report your findings to your supervisor.
  • Non-compliant ladders should be tagged and taken out of service. Non-compliant ladders should be repaired by a manufacturer-authorized person or be destroyed.


Ladder safety on the job is up to the user as much as the contractor or owner. Do your part by inspecting your ladder before


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