tl;dr – An inspector from the Ontario Ministry of Labour has reviewed the Ladder-Aide and confirmed that “he has no problem with it.”
Shortly after we launched the Ladder-Aide we started receiving questions about certifications and safety:
- Is it CSA certified? (You can find that answer here)
- What’s the weight rating?
- Is it approved by OSHA (the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the BC Safety Authority, the CNSST in Quebec, etc…?
These are excellent questions.
They’re valid questions.
They’re the right questions to be asking if you’re concerned about your safety.
We needed to be able to answer them.
So we started looking for answers.
We emailed, called, and met with representatives from three different departments at CSA. All of whom told us the same thing: Our product isn’t a ladder, so they can’t test or certify it.
Then we spoke to OSHA and other regional safety authorities. Over and over, we had the same conversation. It went something like this:
“How can we get the Ladder-Aide approved for job sites?”
“You can’t. We don’t approve products.”
“Then how does a product pass inspection?”
“It’s up to each individual inspector, on each individual job site, to determine if the situation is safe.”
“But how do we know if inspectors will agree that the Ladder-Aide is safe?”
“Sorry, we can’t help you.”
Again and again, the same conversation. It felt like beating our heads against a wall.
That answer wasn’t good enough
We know what the safety authorities’ guidelines on ladder use are: Ladders must be placed on a solid and stable base.
Ok, that’s a good start. We think the Ladder-Aide is exactly that. It’s literally what we designed the Ladder-Aide to provide: A solid and stable base!
But that’s all the guidance said. There was no definition of what a solid and stable base means. No indication if it has to be placed on the ground, or if an elevated surface like ours would be accepted.
We found the guidance on ladder accessories: They should only be used when required, and only for their intended purpose. That’s not very helpful, either. It suggests you’re allowed to use accessories like the Ladder-Aide, but certainly isn’t clear.
So we did our best. We read through all the standards, regulation, and guidance. We did you best to ensure we had all our bases covered. Then we put together documentation that would help professionals talk to inspectors about the Ladder-Aide.
But until we started getting confirmation that real-world inspectors had actually seen Ladder-Aides in the field and given the thumbs up, we were still left wondering.
We finally received our first answer
Last week we got our first real, field-tested answer. Chris Dohan of Mountainviews Homes got his hands on our original Ladder-Aide and wanted to be sure. He reached out to us and then reached out to one of his regular inspectors from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, who gave them the go-ahead.
An inspector from the Ontario Ministry of Labour has reviewed the Ladder-Aide and confirmed that “he has no problem with it.”
What it means
This does not mean that the Safety Authorities have approved the Ladder-Aide; they haven’t and they never will. They don’t approve products.
It does confirm our design, our goal, and our understanding that when used safely, the Ladder-Aide should be considered a stable and solid base.
If you’re going to use the Ladder-Aide on a regular job site, we recommend the following
- If it all possible, check with an inspector from your local safety authority before use. Make sure. And if you do, let us know!
- Follow your local regulators guidance on the safe use of ladders.
- Always adhere to the ladder manufacturers’ instructions
- Check the assembly and condition of all your equipment regularly and before use