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NSLS ESH Highlight #47

Inspections of Step Stools, Ladder Stands, and Portable Ladders

Date: May 21, 2009
Editors: L. Stiegler

There are times when we all need to reach something that is not accessible from the ground level. It could be something just out of reach, so we use a step stool. Or, it could be higher. In those cases we would need to use a ladder stand (a self-supported, portable set of steps), or portable ladder. Any of these devices require inspection prior to each use. The guidelines below will help you with this inspection.

General Guidance for all devices:

  • Surfaces must be free from oil, grease and slippery substances
  • All exposed surfaces must be free from sharp edges, burrs, or other safety hazards
  • Stepping surface, including rungs, must be skid resistant
  • All feet or bottom surfaces must be skid resistant (i.e. rubber feet or ring)
  • All ladders, step stools and ladder stands must be removed from service immediately if any defects are found

Step Stools and Ladder Stands:

  • The wheels must retract and rubber feet engage when stepped on

Ladders, Stepladders, and Ladder Stands:

  • Ladders must be rated for industrial or commercial use (Type I or II). No Type III household ladders are to be used at NSLS.
  • All rungs and side rails must be in good condition with no cracks, or defects, such as bent supports
  • Ladders must be stable, with tight joints between the rungs and side rails
  • The movable parts must operate freely without binding or undue play
  • Stepladders must be equipped with a metal spreader or locking device of sufficient size and strength to securely hold the front and back sections in the open position
  • Wood ladders cannot be painted, except for identification or warning labels on one face of a side rail

Fiberglass Class IA Industrial ladders are provided at various locations throughout the NSLS Complex. They are available for general use. Anyone wishing to use any ladders must complete the web-based training TQ-LADDER. And remember, always pay attention to your body position and the task at hand while working from an elevated surface!


Rubber feet on a ladder stand

Non-skid surface

Rubber ring on a step stool