Safety Talks – Ladder Safety
Ladder Safety

Ladders are one of the most important tools we use on the job which makes ladder safety a very important topic. Most incidents involving a ladder are preventable. Use the following points to remind your team of the importance of ladder safety.

Choose the correct ladder for the job

Non-Conductive Ladders:

  • Avoid the use of aluminium portable ladders. They pose a serious risk when working with or around electricity.
  • Use fiberglass or composite ladders to avoid the risk of electrocution.

Wooden Ladders:

  • Only use wooden ladders if they are in good working condition.
  • Always perform a thorough inspection of the equipment to ensure safety.
  • Replace damaged wooden ladders with non-conductive ladders whenever possible.

Step Ladders:

  • Never stand on the top two rungs of a step ladder.
  • Always use the spreaders to fully open and secure a step ladder.

Straight or Extension Ladders:

  • When accessing an elevated surface, always extend the ladder 3 rungs above the leading edge and secure the top of the ladder to prevent slipping.
  • Never fasten two straight ladders together unless both ladders are specifically designed to do so.

Ladder Inspection

  • Always inspect a ladder for wear and damage before use.
  • Verify that all rails and rungs are not cracked, bent, loose, or covered in oily debris.
  • Verify step ladders have two spreaders that are not damaged and operate correctly.
  • Verify the fly section of an extension ladder extends properly and securely locks into place.
  • Discard and mark any damaged portable ladders.

Ladder Setup

  • Place the ladder on a firm level surface
    • Straight or extension ladders must be angled at a 4 to 1 ratio
      (for every 4 ft. of elevation the ladder must extend 1 ft. from the base).
  • Secure the worksite if using a ladder in a high traffic area.

Use of a Portable Ladder

  • Always maintain 3 points of contact when using a ladder.
    • 1 foot / 2 hands
    • 2 feet / 1 hand
  • Always face the ladder when ascending and descending
  • Maintain the ladder to be free from oily debris that present a slip hazard.
  • Never over-reach while working on a ladder.
  • Never shift, move or extend a ladder while in use.
  • Never exceed the load capacity of a ladder (see manufacturer’s label).

Check out Ladder Safety 101 for more information on ladder safety.