Ladder Safety Tips

Updated: 2nd December 2015


A lack of ladder safety kills. It is that blunt. On a yearly basis, around fifty construction personnel are killed by accidents on ladders. Over fifty percent of the fatalities happen to those operating from ladders. Two times as many accidents happen going down in comparison to going up ladders.

The primary reason behind falls from upright as well as extension ladders is moving of the ladder base. For self supported ladders or stepladders, the principle cause is sliding side to side. Lots of employees hauling step ladders injure their backs, as well. Never take ladder safety for granted.

Ladder Safety Blueprint

Follow these ladder safety tips. It could just save your life.

Safeguard Yourself

Ladder Safety Video

• Select the right apparatus. Use ladders primarily for climbing up to or from other levels. When you can – rather than making use of ladders to help you – make use of scaffolds or even scissor lifts; they’re far better to operate from.
• Select the right ladder size.
• A label on a industrial ladder lets you know it’s optimum weight capability. Only use type I, IA, or IAA step ladders, which can support two hundred and fifty,three hundred, and 375 lbs, respectively.

Osha states job-made transportable ladders has to be analyzed for strength; an everyday ladder has to be capable of holding a minimum of four times its maximum weight limit.
• Ladder steps, cleats, as well as steps should be parallel, level, and consistently spread out (10-14 inches wide for the majority of ladders). The steps and rungs of metallic ladders have to be grooved or roughened to reduce sliding. Side-rails should be at least 11.5 ins apart.
• Don’t tie up ladders together.
• If you work with 2 or more ladders to get to one spot, they need to have a platform or landing between the two.
• Ladder components should be smooth to avoid holes or slashes or snagging of garments.
• Timber ladders should not be painted using a finish that may disguise flaws.
• Workers need to be competent in ladder use. A reliable man or woman should educate workers in site-specific ladder safety.

Setting up a Ladder

Ladder safety tips to save lives
Pic courtesy of AGS Stainless

• Make use of two individuals to carry as well as set up a ladder, whenever possible.
• Keep all kinds of ladders (and tools) a minimum of 10 ft from live over head utility lines and other over head obstructions. Aluminum as well as moist or soiled timber or fiberglass ladders may conduct electrical current.
• Set the ladder on firm, level surface. Make use of ladder levellers on sloping terrain. Secure the ladder – tie it down, make use of slip-resistant feet, or have somebody support it in position. (A ladder on a slick surface area must be set up or held.)
• Keep your area surrounding the top and bottom part of a ladder clear. In passageways, entrance doors, or where traffic or any other pursuits can happen, secure the ladder or obstruct access to the area.
• Don’t set a ladder on scaffolding, common box, and other item.
• Stepladders: All four legs have to be on sound, level surface. The spreaders should be secured completely open. Never ever climb on the cross-bracing. By no means lean a stepladder towards a wall.
• Straight and extension ladders: The ladder foundation ought to be one ft from the construction (or highest support, for example an eave) for every four ft of ladder length up to the resting placement. Keeping track of steps will provide you with a great estimate of the ladder length; steps are about one foot apart.
• After you set up an extension ladder, lock the top section in place. Extension ladder sections must overlap – by at least 3 feet for ladders up to 32 feet, by 4 feet for ladders 32 feet to 48 feet, and by 5 feet for ladders
48 feet to 60 feet.
• Both rails must rest evenly on the resting spot, unless the ladder has a single-support attachment.
• When a ladder is used to get on or off a roof, secure the ladder by tying. The side rails should be at least 3 feet above the roof to be safe. Job-made ladders should let you get on or off a ladder by stepping between
the rails. If you have to step around a ladder because of rungs, there should be a grab rail attached to the building to help you. (OSHA requires the grab rail and tie-off if a ladder doesn’t extend at least 3 feet above the roof.) If there is a high parapet wall, use a stairway or some other way to get on or off the parapet.

Using a Ladder

• Always check a ladder before you use it; recheck it if it has been unattended.
• Always face a ladder when using it.
• Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles.
• Always have a 3-point contact (such as, one hand and two feet).
• Keep your body centered between the side rails of the ladder – so you don’t tip over the ladder.
• Never work from the top or top step of a stepladder, or from any of the top 3 steps of a straight or extension ladder.
• If you must work from an extension ladder, consider using a fall protection system attached to a secure anchor point on the building, especially if pushing, pulling, or prying. (The fall protection should be designed by a qualified person.) And keep both feet on the same rung for complete ladder safety.
• Do not hold objects in your hand when moving up or down or stepping on/off a ladder to an upper level. Attach objects to your tool belt or pull them up on a line after you get to your work spot.
• Do not use a ladder when it is windy. This is ladder safety rule #1
• Never move a ladder while someone is on it.
• Lower the top section of an extension ladder before you move it.

Inspecting a Ladder

OSHA says a ladder must be inspected regularly for visible defects by a competent person and after any incident that could affect its safe use. Check your ladder for damage before each use. If a ladder is damaged, label it, Do not use, and take it away until it is fixed. Destroy it if it can’t be fixed.

Here is a checklist for inspecting ladders:

• Make sure the feet work and are not broken – and slip-resistant pads on the feet are secure.
• Inspect ladder parts for cracks, bends, splits, or corrosion.
• Check all rung and step connections.
• Make sure rung locks and spreader braces are working.
• On extension ladders, make sure the rope and pulley work and the rope is not frayed.
• All bolts and rivets should be secure.
• All rung locks and other movable parts should be oiled or greased.
• Make sure the steps, rungs and other ladder parts are free of oil, grease, and other materials for complete ladder safety at work or home.