Fiberglass ladders micro crack dangers

Those that have fiberglass ladders make sure you inspect for micro cracks at the side rail rungs. I copied this from an article I came across and though it would be helpful. The article did not specify ladder brand or any other details.

Ladder Inspections - Why they are so Important

Two roofing technicians were going on to a flat roof to perform an inspection and repair. The first technician set up a 30 foot extension ladder to access the roof. The ladder was a Type IA Fiberglass ladder rated for a load capacity of 300 pounds. The technician weighed approximately 160 pounds. The ladder had been inspected and was less than 2 months old. The ladder had not been damaged or subjected to any harsh conditions.

As the technician was climbing the ladder he felt the ladder start to give from underneath him. He was able to reach and hold on to the roof edge as the ladder collapsed. The second technician was able to get another ladder from their service truck, set the ladder up and get the first technician down safely without incident.

All fiberglass ladders were immediately brought in from the field and closely examined for any possible defects or damage. The company found that on approximately 20% of their fiberglass extension ladders there were very small cracks in the fiberglass on the side rails immediately next to the rungs of some ladders.

In addition to the small cracks in the fiberglass in some areas the fiberglass material had split.
The small cracks found in the side rails of the extension ladders were not noted to be in any pattern along the side rail. The cracks and splits in the fiberglass were found to be immediately next to the rungs on the outside portion of the side rail.

Currently it is believed the fiberglass may have been damaged or fatigued during the manufacturing process when the rungs were crimped into the side rail of the ladder.

The small cracks around the rungs are not easily detected by a quick visual inspection. Workers need to ‘feel’ with their finger tips for any raised spots in the fiberglass and remove any debris along the side rails in the areas where the rungs are crimped to check for small cracks or splits.

The cracks were not found in any pattern or specific location on all the ladders inspected. It is important to inspect each rung on both the exterior and interior side of the side rail for any signs of cracks or splits in the fiberglass.

Any fiberglass ladder with these small cracks should be removed from service.



Thanks John great info much appreciated

Read the whole article here;

Certainly something to think about when climbing a fiberglass ladder huh!!

Going through ladder training with AT&T then latter with SBC they always stressed inspection of all equipment.

Important to look at all the connected hardware as well.
Biggest safety upgrade you can make is to add claws at the feet and hooks on top which is a cheap option on fiberglass extensions.

Much has nothing to do with faults in manufacturing either as very few rope off the ladder and should be.

Most ladder defects happen when in transit. Hanging from ladder racks on trucks, and driving 70 MPH on rough highways can damage/crack any ladder.

I recently heard an issue with Little Giant ladder top pins wearing out when being transported flat in pickup beds. Over time when the ladder bounces up and down, pin wear results.

Thanks for the heads up on this. Continuous inspections on all equipment is critical.

thanks, a good safety reminder never hurts.

That’s why I prefer metal ladders. They are lighter, and I just use common sense and keep them away from electrical lines.

Metal ladders are dumb to use on a house.
Very easy to get shocked by stray voltage and have been shocked several times by downspouts and gutters not to mention the lightning danger.

Some also blow down easy.

Since I don’t lean my ladder directly on the gutter, an electrified gutter is not a concern for me.

I also wouldn’t be dumb enough to get on a roof with thunderstorms in the area.

When doing utility work you have no choice and please explain how you climb up the eave side to avoid gutters
Must be a new circus technique.
Lightning can travel from miles away so you are not safe as you think.

If lightning is going to hit you it will hit you whether or not you’re using a metal ladder. (That same lightning could strike you while you’re on the roof, could it not??) I think I am in more danger of getting hurt by falling off a ladder or roof than by getting hit by lightning.

Geez, I could go crazy imagining all the ways I could get hurt while doing an inspection, I just don’t work myself into a tizzy worrying about it.
If I get electrocuted I’ll be sure to send you a card from wherever I end up. :smiley:

I just like the ease of using a much lighter aluminum ladder, plain and simple. And, from reading this thread, less likely to get damaged, which is obviously ANOTHER potential danger for you to worry about.

As for the gutters, I never lean my ladder directly against the gutter.

I use a 1/2" thick rubber sheet carpeted on the outside, and clamp it to the ladder with quick release clamps.
(Next you’re probably going to say another “what if” scenario… “What if” the clamps come loose, etc. etc.):roll:

Works like a clamp, I mean champ. :wink:

Thanks… Great information… But fiberglass ladders are the best among all. They are sturdy and well built… Good quality fiberglass ladders may not give you the pain :slight_smile:

These are all I use

Thanks John, I like that first one. :slight_smile:

Your welcome. We actually had the Little Giant Rep demo them at our last chapter event.

Too much exposure to UV damages these ladders.
I am having step ladder and a multi purpose ladder.
They are really strong and i have forgotten about aluminum ladders at all :stuck_out_tongue: