It is a simple tool found at almost every home and workplace, but often misused. Below are a few reminders for safely using a ladder.
- Before using a ladder, check it carefully to ensure there are no visible defects and it is in good working condition.
- Use the right ladder for the job. Ensure the ladder is high enough for you to safely reach your work area.
- Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.
- When using ladders to access another level, secure and extend the ladder at least 3 feet above the landing point to provide a safe handhold.
- Place the ladder on a stable surface and ensure it is level & secured.
- Wear proper footwear (such as non-slip flat shoes; not flip flops or something your foot may easily slip out of). Keep the rungs/steps clean, so they are not slippery.
- Prevent passersby from walking under or near ladders in use by placing barriers (e.g., cones or caution tape) or getting your coworker to act as a lookout.
- Ensure that the ladder is extended to the necessary height or folding hinges in a fully open, locked position before starting work.
The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface.
- Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or tools/equipment is on the ladder.
- Do not use a ladder with bent legs, missing steps, or any visible cracks or other defects.
- Do not carry any tools or materials in your hands when climbing a ladder. Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand).
- Do not lean away from the ladder while working. Always keep your weight centered between the side rails.
- Do not place ladders in front of doors, unless they are blocked or guarded.
- Do not lean a step ladder against a wall to use in the closed position.
- Do not place ladders on top of other objects (boxes, pallets, scaffolds) to gain additional height.
- Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. This includes your body weight + tools & other objects.
- Do not stand on the top rung of an extension ladder or sit on or straddle the top cap of a step ladder.