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Proper lean angle of portable ladder

In California, Portable Ladder Safety is regulated by Title 8 California Code of Regulations (T8CCR) Section 1675, 3276, 3287, and 3413. American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standards A14.1‑2007, A14.2-2007, A14.5‑2007 and A14.10 are mentioned in 3276.

Note: Standard A14.10 has been incorporated in A14.2‑2007 and A14.5‑2007.

The following specific requirements apply to portable ladder safety. For a complete scope of the regulatory requirements, see Title 8 California Code of Regulations.

  1. In construction, except where either permanent or temporary stairways or suitable ramps or runways are provided, ladders shall be used to give safe access to all elevations. 1675(a)
  2. General requirements for portable ladders are as follows:
    1. Portable ladders in construction shall comply with T8 CCR 3276. 1675(b)
    2. Design and construction of portable ladders shall comply with T8 CCR 3276(c).
    3. Extension ladders shall comply with 3276.
    4. All portable metal ladders and wood ladders shall comply with 3276.
    5. Portable reinforced plastic ladders shall comply with 3276.
  3. Portable ladders are generally designed for one-person use to meet the requirements of the person, the task, and the environment. When selecting a ladder for use, consider the ladder length, height, the working load, the duty rating, worker position, and how often the ladder is used. 3276(d)(1)(B)
  4. Double-cleat ladders are required for two-way traffic or when 25 or more employees are using a ladder. Double-cleat ladders shall not exceed 24 feet in length. 1629(c)
  5. Maximum lengths of portable ladders shall not exceed the following: 3276(e)(16)(D)
    Ladder Type Maximum Length (Feet)
    Step Ladder 20
    Two-section extension ladder (wood) 60
    Two-section extension ladder (metal) 48
    Three-section extension ladder (metal) 60
    Two-section extension ladder (reinforced plastic) 72
    Painter's step ladder 12
    Cleat ladder 30
    Single ladder 30
  6. Minimum overlap in two section portable extension ladders shall not be less than the following: 3276(e)(16)(E)
    Ladder Size (Feet) Minimum Overlap (Inches)
    Up to and including 32 36
    Over 32, up to and including 36 46
    Over 36, up to and including 48 58
    Over 48, up to and including 60 70
  7. Portable ladders shall be used according to the following duty classifications: 3276(d)(2)
    Duty Rating Ladder Type Working Load (Pounds)
    Special Duty IAA 375
    Extra Heavy0Duty IA 300
    Heavy-Duty I 250
    Medium-Duty II 225
    Light-Duty III 200
  8. All portable ladders used in outdoor advertising structures shall be at least Type I, Type IA or Type IAA as designed and constructed in accordance with T8 CCR 3276. 3413(a)
  9. Inspection and maintenance requirements for portable ladders are below:
    1. Ladders shall be maintained in good condition at all times. 3276(e)(1)
    2. Metal ladders shall not be exposed to acid or alkali materials that are capable of corroding the ladder and reducing the ladder’s strength, unless recommended otherwise. 3276(e)(1)
    3. Ladders shall be inspected by a Qualified Person for visible defects frequently and after any occurrence that could affect their safe use. 3276(e)(2)
    4. Remove ladders that have developed defects such as broken or missing steps, rungs, cleats, safety feet, side rails, or other defects from service, and tag or mark them with "Dangerous, Do Not Use". 3276(e)(3)
    5. All ladders shall be free of oil, grease, or slippery materials. Wood ladders shall not be painted with other than a transparent material. . 3276(e)(4),(5)
  10. Prohibited uses of portable ladders are given below:
    1. Ladders shall not be used as a brace, skid, guy or gin pole, gang-way, or for uses they were not intended, unless recommended by the manufacturer. 3276(e)(16)
    2. Do not place planks on the top step or top cap. 3276(e)(16)(B)
    3. Step ladders shall not be used as single ladders or in the partially closed position. 3276(e)(16)(C)
  11. To safely use portable ladders employees must also follow the requirements noted below:
    1. All portable ladders used for window washing shall be equipped with nonslip devices. Middle and top sections shall not be used as bottom sections unless equipped with nonslip bases. 3287(b)(2)
    2. Portable ladders shall not be overloaded when used. 3276(e)(6)
    3. The base of ladders shall be placed on a secure and level footing. Ladders shall not be placed on unstable bases. 3276(e)(7)
    4. Ladders shall not be used on ice, snow or slippery surfaces unless slippage is prevented. 3276(e)(7)
    5. The top of non self supporting ladder shall be placed with two rails supported equally, unless a single support attachment is provided and used. 3276(e)(8)
    6. Non self supporting ladders shall, where possible, be used so that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is one-quarter of the working length of the ladder. 3276(e)(9)
    7. The ladder shall be so placed as to prevent slipping, or it shall be tied, blocked, held, or otherwise secured to prevent slipping. 3276(e)(9)
    8. Ladders shall not be used in a horizontal position as platforms, runways, or scaffolds unless designed for such use. 3276(e)(9)
    9. When two or more separate ladders are used to reach an elevated work area, the ladders shall be offset with a platform or landing between the ladders (see exceptions). 3276(e)(10)
    10. Extend ladder side rails to at least 3 ft. above the landing unless handholds are provided. 1629(c)(3), 3276(e)(11)
    11. Do not tie ladders together to provide longer sections unless the ladders are designed for such use and equipped with the necessary hardware fittings. 3276(e)(12)
    12. Extension ladders shall be erected so that the top section is above and resting on the bottom section with the rung locks engaged. 3276(e)(13)
    13. Do not place ladders in passageways, doorways, driveways, or any location where they may be displaced unless protected by barricades or guards. 3276(e)(14)
    14. Climb or work with the body near the middle of the step or rung and do not overreach from this position. To avoid overreaching, the employee shall descend and reposition the ladder. 3276(e)(15)(A)
    15. Employees shall be prohibited from carrying equipment or materials which prevent the safe use of ladders. 3276(e)(15)(B)
    16. Face the ladder while climbing and descending, and maintain contact with the ladder at three-points at all times. 3276(e)(15)(C)
    17. Do not stand and work on the top three rungs of a single or extension ladders. 3276(e)(15)(D)
    18. Employees shall not stand on the top-cap or the step below the top-cap of a stepladder. 3276(e)(15)(E)
    19. Do not use the X-bracing on the rear section of a stepladder for climbing unless the ladder is so designed and provided with steps for climbing on both front and rear sections. 3276(e)(15)(F)
    20. Ladders shall not be moved or extended while occupied, unless designed and recommended by the manufacturer. 3276(e)(15)(G)
    21. Portable rung ladders with reinforced rails shall be used only with the metal reinforcement on the underside. 3276(e)(17)
    22. Non-conductive ladders shall be used in locations where the ladder or user may contact unprotected energized electrical conductors or equipment. Conductive ladders shall be legibly marked with signs reading “CAUTION-- DO NOT USE AROUND ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT”, or equivalent. 3276(e)(18)
    23. The area around the top and bottom of a ladder shall be kept clear. 3276(e)(19)
  12. The following are training requirements for employees using portable ladders: 3276(f)
    1. Employees shall be trained in the safe use of ladders before using them. 3276(f)
    2. Supervisors of employees who routinely use ladders shall also be trained in ladder safety training. 3276(f)
    3. The training may be provided as part of the employer’s IIP Program (T8 CCR 3203). 3276(f)
    4. The training shall address the following topics, unless the employer demonstrates that a topic is not applicable to the workplace:
      1. Importance of using ladders safely including injuries due to falls from ladders. 3276(f)(1)
      2. Selection of ladders, including types, proper length, maximum working loads, and electrical hazards. 3276(f)(2)
      3. Maintenance, inspection, and removal of damaged ladders from service. 3276(f)(3)
      4. Erecting ladders including footing support, top support, securing, and angle of inclination. 3276(f)(4)
      5. Climbing and working on ladders including user’s position and points of contact with the ladder. 3276(f)(5)
      6. Causes of falls, including haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, footwear, and user’s physical condition. 3276(f)(6)
      7. Prohibited uses including climbing on cross bracing, uses other than designed, exceeding maximum lengths, and not meeting minimum overlap requirements. 3276(f)(7)