Ladder Safety

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there are approximately 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the United States related to ladders.  Many of us use ladders at work and at home.  One fall from a ladder, whether at home or at work, could result in death or a serious or permanently disabling injury. 

There are some general rules that apply to ladder safety that are applicable to work or home use.

  • Maintain ladders free of oil, grease and other slipping hazards.
  • Do not load ladders beyond their maximum intended load nor beyond their manufacturer’s rated capacity.
  • Use ladders only for their designed purpose.
  • Use ladders only on stable and level surfaces unless secured to prevent accidental movement.
  • Do not use ladders on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental movement.  Do not use slip-resistant feet as a substitute for exercising care when placing, lashing or holding a ladder upon slippery surfaces.
  • Secure ladders placed in areas such as passageways, doorways or driveways, or where they can be displaced by workplace activities or traffic to prevent accidental movement.  Or, use a barricade to keep traffic or activity away from the ladder.
  • Keep areas clear around the top and bottom of ladders.
  • Do not move, shift or extend ladders while in use.
  • Use ladders equipped with nonconductive side rails if the worker or the ladder could contact exposed energized electrical equipment.
  • Face the ladder when moving up or down.
  • Use at least one hand to grasp the ladder when climbing.
  • Do not carry objects or loads that could cause loss of balance and falling.
  • Use a ladder that is the proper length for the job.  Proper length is a minimum of 3 feet extending over the roofline or working surface.  The three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder should not be stood on.
  • Straight, single or extension ladders should be set up at about a 75 degree angle.
  • Metal ladders will conduct electricity.  Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder in the vicinity of power lines or electrical equipment.  Do not let a ladder made from any material contact live electric wires.
  • Be sure all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.
  • Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times.  Do not lean too far to the side while working.
  • Do not step on the top step, bucket shelf or attempt to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.
  • Never leave a raised ladder unattended.
  • Follow use instruction labels on ladders.

As the seasons change, we utilize ladders for fall maintenance, landscaping, or even putting up those Christmas decorations.  Be careful when using a ladder, whether you are at home or at work.  A fall at either home or work can affect your work or home life.