Portable Ladder Safety in Construction - Text-only

Use Ladders Safely

Accidents occur and re-occur with ladders because:

  • Workers are not being trained on their proper use,
  • Unsafe work practices,
  • Wrong ladder for the specific job,
  • Improper positioning,
  • Ladders with defects.

1. Provide Employee Training

To be effective:

  • Training must be provided in a language and at a level that employees understand.
  • Be specific to the actual work they will be doing when using ladders.
  • Provide practical demonstrations of ways of using ladders safely when working from them. For example, facing the ladder while climbing and descending.

Encourage employees to talk to you about the newly learned material and demonstrate that they understand the information.

2. Select the Correct Ladder for the Specific Job

  • Selecting the correct ladder depends on the specific job and work being performed.
  • Always use approved portable ladders which are the correct length and type for the job.
  • Step ladders are not to be used as lean-to ladders.
  • Don't use metal, wet wooden or fiberglass ladders to do electrical work. Wet ladders can make the ladder conductive to electrical current and creates slip and fall hazards.

3. Cal/OSHA requires ladders to be inspected before use.

Before use, employees should always inspect ladders:

  • for damage, lack of structural integrity, missing components or loose parts
  • that labels are intact and readable.
  • that accessories (e.g., leg levelers, paint shelves, stand-off shelves) are in good condition.
  • ensure hinges on stepladders are fully open and locked.


4. Position Ladders Correctly

  • Rest the base of ladders on firm, level, dry, non-slippery surfaces away from hallways, passageways, doorways, driveways or heavy traffic areas.
  • Use leg levelers when necessary to provide firm support.
  • Keep the top and base areas of ladders clear of any obstructions.

5. Use Safe Work Practices

  • Always follow manufacturer's recommendations for proper blocking and securing the ladder.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing up and down.
  • Perform your work in-line with the ladder, not on either side.
  • Extension ladders should only be used to access landings and come down from work surfaces.
  • Extend the ladder used for access at least 36 inches above the landing or work surface.

Simply a Safer Way ...

For more information go to www.cal-osha.ca.gov/etools

Tel: 1-800-963-9424