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OSHA Guidelines For Ladder Safety

Ladder Safety

Keep manufactured and job-made ladders in good condition and free of defects.

Inspect ladders before use for broken rungs or other defects so falls don’t happen. Discard or repair defective ladders.

Secure ladders near the top or at the bottom to prevent them from slipping and causing falls.

When you can’t tie the ladder off, be sure the ladder is on a stable and level surface so it cannot be knocked over or the bottom of it kicked out (Figure 4).

Place ladders at the proper angle (1 foot out from the base for every 4 feet of vertical rise, (Figure 5).

Figure 4. The drawing shows two ways to secure the base of a ladder to ensure proper footing.

Extend ladders at least 3 feet above the landing to provide a handhold or for balance when getting on and off the ladder from other surfaces (Figure 5).

Do not set up a ladder near passageways or high traffic areas where it could be knocked over.

Use ladders only for what they were made and not as a platform, runway, or as scaffold planks.

Always face the ladder and maintain 3 points of contact when climbing a ladder (Figure 6).

Figure 5. When ladders are used for access to an upper level they must extend at least 3 feet above the roof surface.

Figure 6. This worker is climbing a ladder set at the proper angle (4:1) with a three-point contact grip (two hands and one foot).

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