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Repairing ladders

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:39 am
by Merlot
Morning everyone,

having an issue here regarding stepladders. More specifically repairs, a pair of aluminium steps was damaged and the warehouse handyman has repaired the crack with a steel plate riveted on.

Its certainly strong, but i feel they need scrapping and replacing but there is some opposition to this.

Now i have spent a long time trying to find legal justification that repairs of this kind are not allowed but drawing a blank. Other than the argument that the repair will probably not comply with EN131 is there anything else that will help?


Re: Repairing ladders

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:24 am
by Ewangoil
Having had a quick look at youngmans website. They don't recommend carrying out repairs. I'd say follow the manufacturers instructions where there isn't any specific HSE guidance.

Re: Repairing ladders

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:22 am
by kevlarion
If your chief concern is safety, and you think the repair makes the ladders safe (and you feel qualified to make that judgement) then the repair is probably fine. You would want to keep a record of it.
If you don't want hassle off the HSE or local council you will want to document the decision in some way with reasons for the competence of the person making the repair and the decision to put them back into service.

Nothing speaks to a business louder than money.
If you can't prove competence and explain why the repair is sufficient then you can expect an FFI at some point in the future, which would likely cost more than a ladder, and you would also need to replace the ladder then as well as jump through a few hoops around your inspection and repair process.

I allow ladder repairs on warehouse steps that are used in the factory. I had someone come in and train a few operators how to check and repair them (competence), and I only allow treads, handrails, and rivets to be replaced with identical pieces supplied from the original step manufacturer. I don't allow stiles to be replaced or repaired, and if there is any question about whether a repair is warranted I order a new set of steps and cut the stiles on the old ones myself in order to prevent their use.

There is more to safety management than being safe, there is also proving compliance.
Have a look in Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, not specifically about ladders, but the same requirements apply to all work equipment, fit for purpose, fit for use, checked, maintained, user training, user supervision.

Re: Repairing ladders

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:18 am
by bernicarey
Merlot wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:39 am
.... specifically repairs, a pair of aluminium steps was damaged and the warehouse handyman has repaired the crack with a steel plate riveted on.
Personally, I see no problem with the idea of repairs, but I don't like the idea of a steel plate riveted onto an aluminium ladder/steps.

If you had said that qualified staff had welded the crack, I'd be fine with it, because the site of the crack can just be inspected as part of the regular inspection.
But for a handyman to rivet a plate over the crack, how do we know what is going on?
Presumably they are not a mechanical engineer qualified in structural repairs of metal assemblies?
How many rivets? 4? 8? 10?
What other stresses are now placed at that point?
What size holes in relation to the rivets?
what size rivets?
Pop rivets or solid?
Is the crack still propagating behind the plate?
Was the crack 'stop drilled' before covering it over, to try and prevent it propagating?
Depending where it is, what happens if the crack propagates?

As kevlarion say, you're asking for trouble. .salut

Re: Repairing ladders

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:36 am
by Merlot

thanks everyone for their input already. You are all echoing my feelings on the matter, they should just be replaced.

Its still ongoing so will at some point update you all.

Re: Repairing ladders

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:02 pm
by hound dog
Very late input on this discussion. A number of years ago working for a local company I used our step ladders when measuring up in a new unit just adjacent to our main work place. I was on my own. I had almost finished when the step ladder buckled under me as I started to fall reached out to some rack
ING trying to save myself. The racking came down over me trapping me beneath it. I remained stuck there for an hour. Thankfully I only suffer from bruising. You guessed it this ladder had been repaired. My feelings now are if a ladder breaks then it has reached the end of its life. We bought a new ladder the day after for about seventy pounds, nothing compared to the cost of a more severe injury than I had sustained.

Re: Repairing ladders

Posted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:41 pm
by ddlh
Agree with Hound dog - fit for purpose comes to mind. Speek to supplier and see thier comments (I would assume they would say replace them).

But god forbid - if there was an accident concerning that "repaired" equipment and the HSE was involved - would they accept repaired quality as "fit for purpose?

Replace them