Employee Training for Portable Ladders

All persons using portable ladders must be trained on ladder safety as per the training requirements of T8CCR:

  • Subsection 3276(f) – Employee Training
  • Section 3203 – Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP for General Industry)
  • Section 1509 – Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP for Construction Industry)

Before an employee or a supervisor uses a ladder, they shall be provided training in the safe use of ladders, unless the employer can demonstrate that they are already trained in ladder safety. The training may be provided as part of the employer's Injury and Illness Prevention Program required by Section 3203.

Train employees on proper ladder usage.Train employees on proper ladder usage.

Scope of Training

Portable ladder training shall address the following:

  1. Importance of using ladders safely

    Practically all falls from ladders can be traced to using them in an unsafe manner. Falls from ladders may result in serious injuries, long-term disabilities, and even death. In addition to the person falling from the ladder, other people around the ladder may also get hurt. Hence, all users of portable ladders must know the rules of ladder safety and observe these rules at all times.

  2. Selection for ladder

    Proper selection of ladder can help you avoid accidents and injuries from falls.  Consider the type of ladder to be used.  Ensure it will be long enough and have sufficient weight capacity.  Never use metal ladders near electrical hazards.  See Ladder Selection for more information.

  3. Maintenance, inspection, and removal from service

    It is important that all ladders are maintained in good working order. Inspecting the ladder before each use, storing ladders properly and removing damaged ladders from service are also critical to keeping workplace safe from accidents and injuries involving ladders. See Inspection, Use, and Maintenance for details.

  4. Erecting ladders

    Users of portable ladders need to be provided specific trainings on how to properly setup a ladder. The training should cover ladder footing and top support, securing of the ladder, and angle of inclination. Users of portable ladders also need to be trained on using ladders safely while accessing elevated work areas and landings. See Inspection, Use, and Maintenance for details.

  5. Climbing and working on ladders

    User’s position and points of contact with the ladder are two critical factors in ladder safety. Employers need to make sure that their ladder safety trainings cover these factors as well. See Inspection, Use, and Maintenance for details.

  6. Factors contributing to falls

    Factors contributing to falls such as haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, improper footwear, and user’s physical condition are also key to preventing falls from ladders. See Inspection, Use, and Maintenance for details.

  7. Prohibited uses of portable ladders

    Portable ladders can be used in a variety of ways. However, there are a number prohibited uses as per Cal/OSHA regulations. The prohibited uses include climbing on cross bracing, exceeding maximum lengths, not meeting minimum overlap requirements, and using the ladder for any use other than what it was designed for. See Inspection, Use, and Maintenance for details.

Employers can enhance their ladder safety program by training employees on:

  • Ladder related safe work practices used by your industry
  • Knowledge gathered from accident and near-miss experiences
  • Manufacturer’s instructions
  • Other areas of ladder safety as needed for a particular task

How to Provide Training?

Train employees on proper ladder usage.Train employees on proper ladder usage.

To be effective, training must be provided in a language and at a level that employees understand. Make your training specific to the actual work employees will be doing when using ladders. Effective training methods include a combination of the followings:

  • Practical demonstrations of ways of using ladders safely when working
  • Asking open ended questions to encourage employees to think about how to work safely when using a ladder. For example, you could ask, what are the hazards in your job when using a ladder? What could be done to make you safer when working with a ladder?
  • Small group discussion and exercises
  • Safety meetings including tailgate/tool box meetings
  • Available safety videos
  • Safety resources listed under Resources
  • Other resources available through the internet and publications  

In order to make sure that your training is effective, have your employees talk to you about the newly learned material and demonstrate that they understand the information presented in the training.