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Ladder Safety

Ladder Safety

Shoes at the stairs

Ladder safety is key for fall protection – one of the most common causes of workplace injury in construction. All workers should be trained in how to properly select and use ladders for the type of work they’re performing. The American Ladder Institute (ALI) provides free training for workers and safety professionals on how to safely use several types of ladders, including stepladders, extension ladders, articulated ladders, and mobile ladders.

Here’s some ladder dos and don’ts that you can use to refresh your employees’ training:

Safe Ladder Use—DO:

  • Maintain a 3-point contact (two hands and afoot, or two feet and a hand) when climbing/descending a ladder.
  • Face the ladder when climbing up or descending.
  • Keep the body inside the side rails.
  • Use extra care when getting on or off the ladder at the top or bottom. Avoid tipping the ladder over sideways or causing the ladder base to slide out.
  • Carry tools in a tool belt or raise tools up using a hand line. Never carry tools in your hands while climbing up/down a ladder.
  • Extend the top of the ladder three feet above the landing.
  • Keep ladders free of any slippery materials.

Safe Ladder Use—DO NOT:

  • Place a ladder on boxes, barrels, or unstable bases.
  • Use a ladder on soft ground or unstable footing.
  • Exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating.
  • Tie two ladders together to make them longer.
  • Ignore nearby overhead power lines.
  • Move or shift a ladder with a person or equipment on the ladder.
  • Lean out beyond the ladder’s side rails.
  • Use an extension ladder horizontally like a platform.

For more information on safe ladder use, see the OSHA fact sheets on extension ladders and stepladders. ALI also has several flyers available on various ladder safety topics.

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