OSHA Safety Manuals | Ladder Safety
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ladder safety

Ladder Safety

Ladder Safety

Normally when I come across pictures like this,  assume it’s a joke of some sort. Either the setting was staged, or the picture was Photoshopped. This photo – not so much. A very good friend of mine was at work while he was having his house painted. When he came home that evening, imagine his shock when he noticed how the ladder was being supported. The painter’s explanation? He simply explained to my friend that he’d been painting for over 20 years.

Please, I remind everyone:

  1. Ladders must be maintained free of oil, grease, and other slipping hazards.
  1. Ladders must not be loaded beyond the maximum intended load for which they were built nor beyond their manufacturer’s rated capacity.
  1. Ladders must be used only for the purpose for which they were designed.
  1. Non-self-supporting ladders must be used at an angle where the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is approximately one-quarter of the working length of the ladder. Wood job-made ladders with spliced side rails must be used at an angle where the horizontal distance is one-eighth the working length of the ladder.
  1. Fixed ladders must be used at a pitch no greater than 90 degrees from the horizontal, measured from the back side of the ladder.
  1. Ladders must be used only on stable and level surfaces unless secured to prevent accidental movement.
  1. Ladders must not be used on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental movement. Slip-resistant feet must not be used as a substitute for the care in placing, lashing, or holding a ladder upon slippery surfaces.
  1. Ladders placed in areas such as passageways, doorways, or driveways, or where they can be displaced by workplace activities or traffic must be secured to prevent accidental movement or a barricade must be used to keep traffic or activities away from the ladder.
  1. The area around the top and bottom of the ladders must be kept clear.
  1. The top of a non-self-supporting ladder must be placed with two rails supported equally unless it is equipped with a single support attachment.
  1. Ladders must not be moved, shifted, or extended while in use.
  1. Ladders must have nonconductive side rails if they are used where the worker or the ladder could contact exposed energized electrical equipment.
  1. The top or top step of a stepladder must not be used as a step.
  1. Crossbracing on the rear section of stepladders must not be used for climbing unless the ladders are designed and provided with steps for climbing on both front and rear sections.
  1. Ladders must be inspected by a competent person for visible defects on a periodic basis and after any incident that could affect their safe use.
  1. Single-rail ladders must not be used.
  1. When ascending or descending a ladder, the worker must face the ladder.
  1. Each worker must use at least one hand to grasp the ladder when climbing.
  1. A worker on a ladder must not carry any object or load that could cause him/her to lose balance and fall.

For more information on ladder safety, you can find our chapter on ladder safety here