and ladders are a major source of injuries and
fatalities among construction workers. OSHA estimates
that there are 25,000 injuries and as many as
36 fatalities per year due to falls from stairways
and ladders used in construction.
out the following regarding Ladder Safety:
proper precautions with ladders begins with selecting
the correct ladder.
type of work the ladder will be used for.
weight the ladder must carry.
condition of the ladder.
physical work environment.
ladders, usually made of wood, metal, reinforced
plastic and fiberglass, sold for light use are
Type III light-duty ladders. These are rated for
a maximum load of 200 pounds (user plus materials).
If the ladder needs to carry more weight than
this, use the table below to aid your selection:
Most ladders will be labeled with their duty rating.
self-supporting portable ladder, non-adjustable
in length, having flat steps and hinged back.
Stepladders longer than 20 feet shall not be used.
non self-supporting portable ladder, non adjustable
in length, consisting of one section. Straight
(single) ladders longer than 30 feet shall not
non self-supporting portable ladder adjustable
in length. Extension ladders longer than 60 feet
shall not be used.
in mind that the length of a ladder is different
from its usable length. The height these ladders
can safely reach is reduced by the angle at which
the ladder must be set up.
inspecting a ladder, there are certain defects
and features that you should look for:
metal ladders, check for sharp edges, dents
and bent steps, rungs or rails.
ladders should be free of splits, cracks, chips
and all but small, tight knots.
ladder should have loose rungs or steps.
on wooden step ladders should be reinforced
with metal rods or angle braces securely
attached to the step and side rail.
bottom step of all stepladders should have
metal angle braces. The stability of an
individual stepladder can be checked by
standing on the first step from the bottom
and twisting the ladder. If it feels unsteady,
choose another ladder.
metal ladders should have slip-resistant rubber
or plastic feet.
stepladders should have slip-resistant steps.
Some wooden stepladders also have this feature.
using a ladder near power lines, use a wooden
or fiberglass ladder since metal ladders conduct
splice two short ladders together to make a
shall never be used in the horizontal position
as scaffolds or work platforms.
and follow all instructions accompanying the
ladder, set up the ladder properly, and use
good sense while working on the ladder.
raise a ladder, brace the lower end against
a wall and then grasp the top rung with both
hands. Raise the top end and walk underneath
the ladder, moving down the rungs until the
ladder is vertical.
using an extension ladder, raise it to the desired
height, being sure the locks engage properly
on both sides of the ladder.
position the ladder properly, place it against
the wall so the distance between the wall and
the base of the ladder is 1/4 of the length
along the ladder from the base to its point
should not stand on the top three rungs.
the rungs on ladders are normally one foot apart,
the approximate distance is easy to compute.
the ladder is to be used for getting onto a
roof or other platform, there should be 3 feet
of ladder (at least three rungs) extending beyond
the edge of the roof.
ground under the ladder should be both level
and firm. Large flat wooden boards placed under
the ladder can level a ladder on uneven ground
or give a ladder better footing on soft ground.
possible, secure the ladder. One way to do this
is to have someone hold the bottom of the ladder.
to remember when raising and positioning a ladder
use a ladder in a strong wind.
point where the ladder rests against the wall
should be flat and firm.
ladder should not be placed in front of a door
that is not locked, blocked or guarded.
positioning the ladder, check for insect or
bird nests under the eaves; the top of a ladder
is no place to discover a wasp nest.
the ladder when climbing or descending and use
the ladder from the center, not from the side.
very careful when using a metal ladder around
electrical wires or equipment. Many fatalities
occur when a metal ladder brushes against power
lines while being moved.
only double-insulated or properly grounded electrical
tools on a metal ladder.
should be carried in the pockets, in a bag attached
to a belt, or raised and lowered by rope.
area around the top and bottom of ladder must
be kept clear.
sure that the soles of your shoes are clean
facing the ladder, holding on with one hand.
If it is ever necessary to work with both hands,
hook one leg over the rung.
lean too far to the side while working. A good
general guide is to keep your body centered
between the rails of the ladder. Instead of
leaning to the side, get down and move the ladder.
case of sudden dizziness or a panicky feeling,
bow your head, drape both arms over the rung
in front of you, close your eyes, and wait until
the feeling passes.
not use a ladder as a scaffold or for any purpose
except what was intended.
two or more ladders are used to reach a work
area, they must be offset with a landing or
platform between the ladders.
of the suggestions for using straight and extension
ladders also apply to stepladders. When using
a stepladder only on a flat level surface.
use a stepladder as a straight ladder.
not step on the top platform or top step.
not place it on a table or any similar platform
for added height.
climbing a stepladder, make sure that its legs
are fully extended and the spreader locked.
The locking device on some ladders may present
a pinching hazard, so keep fingers clear when
setting up the ladder.
not use a stepladder for getting onto a roof
or other platform.
not step on the bucket shelf or attempt to climb
or stand on the rear section supports.
should be stored in a sheltered area.
ladders are affected by exposure to heat combined
with dampness and need a dry, well-ventilated
wooden ladder used outdoors should be shellacked,
varnished or given two coats of linseed oil
as a protective coating. Some new ladders may
already have protective coatings; this will
vary with the manufacturer.
paint a wooden ladder; the paint can hide defects.
and extension ladders should be stored horizontally
on racks or hooks with support points at the
top, middle, and bottom of the ladder to prevent
sagging and warping.
a ladder before each use for wear and damage.
This is particularly important after a long
period of storage or after a ladder has been
dropped. Have repair work done only by a competent
repair shop. If there is major damage, discard
not attempt to straighten a bent metal ladder.
use a damaged ladder.
are to be kept free of oil, grease, wet paint,
and other slip hazards.
tighten the reinforcing rods under the steps
of a stepladder, the spreader hinges and other
no matter what kind of ladder you are using,
never leave a raised ladder unattended. It could
fall unexpectedly and injure someone.
Co. - manufacturers of heavy-duty industrial
and commercial ladders. Also, aerial lifts
(the Maxi-Lift), track mounted ladders, fixed
ladders, and forklift platforms
Scaffold Sales - offering aluminum scaffolding,
ladders, and accessories.
- manufacturer of telescopic, hinged, step,
and other aluminum and iron ladders and scaffolding.
Ladder Corporation - offers wood, fiberglass,
aluminum, and steel ladders.
Ladder - manufactures and distributes
a line of wood, aluminum, fiberglass, and
Ladders, LLC. - Manufactures commercial-grade
disappearing stairways, aluminum ladders,
and roof hatches.
Ladder - offers aluminum ladders, repairs,
and harvesting supplies.
Ladder Co. - manufacturers of fiberglass,
aluminum and wood climbing equipment, extension
and attic ladders, scaffolding, step stools,
roofing and painting contractor tools.
Enterprises - manufacturer of the Little
Giant ladder system.