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5 tips for ladder safety

Ladder hazards are number six on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s 2017 list of the top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations. Employers should train employees how to inspect and use ladders safely to prevent injuries and fatalities on the job. Our tips can help.

ladder safety

1Inspect first

Before using any ladder, check it for damaged or missing rungs, cleats, bracing, or foot pads; loose connections and fasteners, such as nuts, bolts, or screws; corroded metal parts; or splintered wood. Make sure ladders and shoes are free of water, oil, grease, mud, or other slippery substances.

2Dispose of damaged ladders

Do not use a ladder that is in poor condition – report it to a supervisor, tag it as “Dangerous: Do Not Use,” and have it repaired or destroyed. To prevent others from using a damaged ladder and getting hurt, dispose of it properly by cutting the ladder in half, from top to bottom, down the center of the rungs.

3  Choose the right ladder for the job

Use a ladder that is tall and strong enough for the task. Never stand a ladder on top of another object or tie two ladders together to add height. Check the ladder’s label to find the duty rating – the maximum weight a ladder can safely carry – and do not exceed it.

4Set up ladders safely

Position the ladder on solid footing and against a solid support. Place ladders away from doorways and walkways to avoid creating trip or fall hazard, unless there are protective barriers are in place. Keep the areas around the ladder’s top and base clear. Never use metal ladders near electrical power sources.

5Climb ladders correctly

Face the ladder when climbing and stay near the middle of the rungs. Do not try to carry tools or other materials with your hands. Always maintain three points of contact with the ladder – two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand.


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Last updated: 3/5/2018