Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Ladder Safe Work Practices

    1. Select a ladder that is the proper length for the job.
    2. Ladders may only be used on stable and level surfaces, unless secured to prevent accidental displacement or movement.
    3. Ladders may not be used on slippery surfaces, such as wet concrete floors or muddy ground, unless they are secured or slip-resistant feet provide adequate protection.
    4. Ladders should not be placed in any location where they can be displaced or bumped by workplace activities or traffic, such as passageways, doorways, or driveways. Secure the ladder to prevent such accidents or barricade the area to keep activities and traffic away from the ladder.
    5. The access area around the top and bottom of the ladder must be kept clear of scrap materials and debris.
    6. proper setup
    7. When ladders are used to access an upper landing surface, such as a roof or mezzanine, the ladder rails must extend at least three feet above the upper landing to provide adequate handholds.
    8. Ladders must be free from oil, grease, mud, and other slippery materials.
    9. Ladders may not be loaded beyond the maximum intended load for which they were built, nor beyond the manufacturer's rated capacity. Estimate 250 pounds per person, plus any tools, equipment, and materials which will be in use while on the ladder.
    10. Ladders may only be used for the purpose, and in the manner, for which they were designed. For example, most ladders are not designed to be used in a horizontal position (i.e. used as a walkboard or platform). Refer to manufacturer's instructions for more information.
    11. When climbing up or down the ladder, always face the ladder and maintain at least three points of contact, such as two hand and one foot, or two feet and one hand. Hands should be free for climbing, and not holding tools and materials. Use a rope and bucket to pull items up or or have someone hand them up.
    12. Do not stand on the top two rungs of a stepladder.The stability is decreased when weight is concentrated at the top of the ladder. If a taller or longer ladder is needed to perform the job safely, make arrangements to have it available before work begins.
    13. Metal ladders must never be used near electrical equipment. Fiberglass ladders are designed to provide adequate protection from electrical hazards.
    14. Ladders may not be altered or spliced in any manner.
    15. Ladders may not be moved, shifted, or extended while a person is on the ladder. Climb down, make the adjustment, and climb back up.
    16. ladder angle
    17. Extension ladders must be placed at the proper angle. Use a 4:1 ratio for setting ladders (approximately 75 degrees) - for every four feet in height, the base of the ladder should be moved one foot out from the wall or structure. For example, a 20-foot ladder should be placed about five feet from the base of the wall you will be accessing.