Ladder Safety Tips

Ladder falls accounted for 30 percent of disabling workplace falls from height in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A study from Liberty Mutual additionally found that the main injuries from falls included fractures, strains or sprains, and contusions or abrasions. Injuries of this nature can result in workers compensation claims, lost time and productivity, and more. Therefore, whether your employees are climbing a ladder to stock shelves or change a light bulb, it’s important to take precautions to help keep your employees safe and to promote ladder safety. Follow these tips to help protect your employees from ladder-related falls:

1. Check for damaged rungs or side rails and loose, broken, or bent hardware. Check the condition of the extension ladder ropes and pulleys. If you think a ladder is defective, do not use it.

2. Dry and/or clean wet, slippery rungs before using the ladder.

3. Ask for help when moving or setting up heavy or awkward ladders.

4. Always use a ladder on a solid, level surface. Install a manufacturer-approved “leveler” if the ladder will be used on uneven surfaces.

5. Secure the base when raising an extension ladder, and never set ladders up when they are already extended.

6. Rest both side rails equally at the top. Install a single support attachment at the top when the ladder cannot rest against a flat surface.

7. Protect the base of the ladder from traffic.

8. Secure the ladder to prevent shifting. When securing a ladder at the top, have someone “foot” the bottom until the top is tied off.

9. Open stepladders fully and lock the spreader. All ladder feet should contact a level supporting surface.

10. Ensure that the areas around the top and bottom of the ladder are clear of debris and materials that could cause the user to slip when mounting or dismounting.

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The illustrations, instructions, and principles in this material are general in scope and, to the best of our knowledge, current at the time of publication. No attempt has been made to interpret any referenced codes, standards, or regulations nor to identify all potential risks or requirements.