>Ladder Safety

Do you think you know all there is to ladder safety? Think again.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 500,000 people are injured each year by falls involving ladders. As many as 300 people each year die from falls in and around the home. Many of these accidents and deaths could be avoided if the basic rules of ladder safety are followed. The Environmental Health & Safety Dept. at the University of Washington suggests the following:

Choose the Right Ladder

  • How high do you have to reach?
    The top of the ladder should be no more than 4 feet below the work.
  • What load capacity should the ladder have?
    Compare your weight plus weight of the load and anything you are carrying to the ladder duty rating.

Type IAA Extra Heavy Duty 375 pounds
Type IA Extra Heavy Duty 300 pounds
Type I Heavy Duty 250 pounds
Type II Medium Duty 225 pounds
Load Capacity

  • Should you use a wood or fiberglass ladder?
    Fiberglass ladders should be used if there is any chance you will come in contact with electricity.
  • Do not use a ladder for any other purpose than for what it is designed.

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  • Be sure the steps are clean – not greasy or slippery.
  • Be sure to check the ladder before using for any damage or defective parts.


Defective Ladder

How to Inspect a Ladder

  • Look carefully for any corrosion, defects, or cracks. Make sure all bolts and rivets are secure.
  • The rungs, cleats, or steps should not be missing, bent, or broken.
  • Make sure that all the joints between the steps or rungs and side rails are tight.
  • It is important that fittings, hardware, and accessories are securely attached and working properly.
  • The ladders feet should work proplerly. The feet should have slip-resistant pads.
  • Remove any unsafe ladders from service.
  • If you have a company, make sure that a qualified person makes a full documented inspection of all the ladders

How to Properly Set Up a Ladder

  • Place the base of the ladder on a hard, even surface. If the surface is soft, use a board under the feet of the ladder. Avoid slippery, wet surfaces.
  • A ladder should never be leaned against a window pane or other unstable surface.
  • All extension ladders should extend at least 3 feet beyond the upper level surface.
  • Here is a formula for safe placement:
    An extension or straight ladder should be placed 1 foot away from the surface it’s resting on for every 4 feet of the ladder’s height.


Correct Ladder Placement

Safety Tips

  • If you feel ill or dizzy, do not use a ladder. Save the job for another day.
  • Always face the ladder and put your hands on the rungs. Never put your hands on the side rails.
  • Keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times:

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Two Feet – Two Hands Two Hands – One Foot Two Feet – One Hand

  • Never get off the ladder from the side.
  • Never stand higher than the third rung or step from the top.
  • Reposition the ladder instead of leaning or overreaching.

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Reposition the Ladder Instead of Reaching

  • Don’t carry tools while you are climbing. Use a tool belt or put the tools in a bucket and pull it up with a rope.
  • Wear slip resistant shoes or work boots.
  • Only one person should be on the ladder at a time.
  • The area around the top and bottom of the ladder should be kept clear and free of any debris.
  • If the weather is bad or windy, don’t use the ladder.
  • If suddenly bad weather arises, immediately come down and wait for it to be over.
  • After use, clean the ladder to avoid dirt build-up.


Keep Area Around the Base of the Ladder Clean

Do you need fall protection?

If the height of the ladder is 10 feet or higher above the floor or ground a personal fall protection system may be needed. The system could be a fall arrest, fall restraint, positioning system, or another approach.

Fall Arrest Systems

  • In the construction industry, OSHA defines a fall hazard as a drop of 6 feet or more from a working/walking surface to a lower level or grade. Some exceptions exist, including (but not limited to) ladders, scaffolding, and steelwork. Common fall arrest equipment includes an anchor point, body harness, and connector (such as a lanyard or self-retracting lifeline.

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  • Fall arrest systems fall into (3) categories
    1. Positioning OSHA 1926.502(e) – Positioning systems allow the worker to sit back securely in their harness …
      See Example
    2. Retrieval OSHA 1926.502(d)(20) – Otherwise known as a rescue plan, retrieval is a crucial step in the development of a fall protection plan.… See Example
    3. Suspension OSHA 1926.452(o) – Suspension equipment systems are able to lower and support the …
      See Example

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KwikSafety (Charlotte, NC) SCORPION Safety Harness w/attached 6ft. Tubular Lanyard on back | OSHA ANSI Fall Protection

The KwikSafety Scorpion is an OSHA-approved safety harness system with an integrated single-leg lanyard with a snap hook that is attached to the safety harness. This safety package is ready to help keep you protected even in a worst-case scenario.

Occidental Leather 5055 Stronghold Suspension System black, brown

Made in the USA these are suspenders for the professional! 12 ounce heavy suspenders make it easy to take off and put on. The design is extremely comfortable and there’s no more slipping and sliding straps. Padded.


Guardian Fall Protection (Qualcraft) 00815 BOS-T50 Bucket of Safe-Tie with Temper Anchor, 50-Foot Vertical Lifeline Assembly and HUV , Yellow

The Guardian Fall Protection kit is great for homeowners. It comes with everything you need to be protected.


Hunter Safety System Pro-Series Harness with Elimishield Scent Control Technology

The Hunter Safety System Pro-Series is treated with new scent-destroying elimishield technology which is heat-fused into the fabric and will control scent for the life of the harness. Comes with all accessories.

Hunter Safety System Ultra-Lite Tree Stand Padded Lightweight Shock Absorbing Fall Protection Flex Safety Harness

The Hunter Safety System Tree Stand is HSS designed which eliminates dangerous dangling straps and weave-through buckles.

Hunter Safety System X-1 Bow-Hunter Harness for Tree-Stand Hunting, Lightweight Comfortable Safe All-Season Great Mobility.

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Beginner Mountaineers / Rock Climbers

Weanas Thicken Climbing Harness, Protect Waist Safety Harness, Wider Half Body Harness for Mountaineering

This is a great beginner’s harness: CE Certified,, but not certified for indoor climbing. Great for mountaineering, tree climbing, rock climbing, outward band, fire rescue, working on the higher level, etc.

Experienced Mountaineers / Rock Climbers

X XBEN Climbing Harness Professional Mountaineering Rock Climbing Harness, Rappelling Safety Harness – Work Safety Belt

This half-body harness is made of high strength polyester. With sturdy connections and webbing with reinforced ends your safety is protected. High load bearing – Harness weight limited: 300KG. Breaking strength: 15KN. CE Certified.


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Bear Butt high-quality USA-designed double hammock straps are heavy-duty and ultra-light.

MalloMe XL Hammock Straps – Hammock Tree Straps Set 2000+ LBS Heavy Duty 40 Loops & 100% No Stretch Suspension System Kit – Camping Hammock Accessories | 2 Carabiners | 12 Feet

MalloMe XL tree-friendly hammock straps take less than a minute to hang.

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BraceAbility Industrial Work Back Brace | Removable Suspender Straps for Heavy Lifting Safety – Lower Back Pain Protection Belt for Men & Women in Construction, Moving and Warehouse Jobs
Comes in sizes Large to XXX-Large

MSA 475407 Skullgard Full-Brim Hard Hat with Fas-Trac III Ratchet Suspension | Non-slotted Hat, Made of Phenolic Resin, Radiant Heat Loads up to 350F – Standard Size in Natural Tan

MSA – 10153385 Black NylonPlastic Fas-Trac III 4 Point Suspension

Lift Safety HDF-15NG DAX Hard Hat, Natural

Lift Safety HDF-18RS DAX Hard Hat Replacement Suspension

KwikSafety (Charlotte, NC) Rattler 1 Pack (Internal Shock Absorber) Single Leg 6ft Safety Lanyard OSHA ANSI Fall Arrest Protection Equipment Snap Hooks Construction Arborist Roofing

NoCry Professional Knee Pads with Heavy Duty Foam Padding and Comfortable Gel Cushion, Strong Double Straps and Adjustable Easy-Fix Clips

Designed for your comfort and safety, these knee pads have adjustable straps and upgraded metal rivets. These NoCry knee pads are made for professional men and women and are built tough to withstand heavy use.

Carhartt Carbondale Safety Sunglasses with Sandstone Bronze Lens Black/tan

The Carhartt Carbondale Safety Sunglasses gave scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses which provide 99% UVA/B/C protection. These attractive nylon sunglasses meet standard ANSI Z87.1 and CAN/CSA Z94.3-07 safety specifications.

Safety Vest