Practice Ladder Safety Each Day

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States leads the world in ladder-related incidents. Ladders cause more than 164,000 injuries and 300 deaths each year. Always choose the right ladder for the job and follow best practices.

Workers should always be trained in the proper use, placement, and handling of ladders and must set up the ladder according to the manufacturer’s safety instructions and warnings.

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) offers these tips:

  • Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.
  • Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.
  • Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.
  • 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.
  • Only use ladders and appropriate accessories for their designed purposes.
  • Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps, or feet.
  • Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.
  • Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.
  • Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
  • Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.
  • An extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3’ 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.
  • A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.
  • Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. 

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