Ladder Safety

Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. Take a few minutes to review ladder safety and to make a Safe Plan of Action before your next climb.

General Information: Avoid electrical hazards! Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment. Always inspect the ladder prior to use. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded. Do not exceed the maximum load rating of any ladder and allow for the total weight of the user and any tools or equipment. Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet. Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent slipping.

Step Ladder: Never use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position. Do not stand on the top two steps of a portable step ladder.

Extension / Straight Ladder: An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support. Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder. The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface. Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.

Remember: Always maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing. Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.