Portable Ladder Safety
Falls from ladders can cause serious bodily harm. Factors that cause falls include rushing work, complacency, over-reaching, sudden movement, lack of attention, footwear, and the user's physical condition. Employees must be trained before using ladders via LMS.
General Safety Rules and Practices
- Inspect all ladders before use to make sure the feet are in good condition and can lie flat on the ground.
- Remove ladders with defects (i.e. broken/missing steps, rungs, cleats, safety feet, side rails, etc.) from service, and tag them with "Danger Do Not Use”.
- Ladders have maximum weight ratings. Before using the ladder, make sure the rating is not exceeded.
- When possible, secure the ladder at the base and top.
- Face the ladder and use both hands when ascending/descending.
- Maintain a firm grip and 3-point contact.
- Use tool belts or ropes attached to buckets to bring tools up.
- When ascending/descending ladders, keep your belt buckle between the ladder rails.
- When descending, look down and make sure you are on the last rung before getting off.
- Purchase only ANSI-14 approved straight, A-frame, and safety step ladders.
- Never put ladders on top of boxes, carts, tables, etc.
- Do not use ladders on unstable, slippery surfaces, or soft ground
- A plywood plank can sometimes be placed beneath the ladder legs.
- Consider using an aerial lift instead.
- Do not overreach. Take the time to move the ladder when needed.
- Do not climb a stepladder or A-frame ladder leaning against a wall. Use a straight ladder instead.
- Do not climb the back of a stepladder or A-frame ladder.
- Do not let your knees go above the top of the stepladder.
- Do not stand (or sit) on the top two steps of a stepladder.
- Do not set up in front of a door unless you locked the door, or otherwise controlled access with barriers.
Types of Ladders
- The distance from the wall is the ladder length divided by 4 (i.e. 12 foot straight ladder should be ~ 3 feet from the wall).
- If climbing onto a roof to an upper surface:
- A straight ladder (<32 ft.) must extend 3 feet over the edge of the roof. This provides hand holds for exiting the ladder onto the roof or getting back on the ladder from the roof
- Use a stepladder about 3 feet shorter than the highest point you have to reach. This gives a wider, more stable base and places shelf at a convenient working height.
- Make sure the ladder spreader is fully extended.
- Place the stepladder at right angles to the work; either the front or back of the steps, facing the work.
Choosing the Correct Ladder
- A-frame ladders must be < 20 feet.
- Painters A-frame ladders must be < 12 feet.
- Single, straight ladders must be < 30 feet.
- Two section-extension ladders:
- Metal ladders must be < 48 feet.
- Wood ladders must be < 60 feet.
- Non-conductive ladders must be used if the ladder or user can contact unprotected energized electrical conductors or equipment.