Ladder Safety

Use these guidelines to ensure worker safety when working with ladders:

  • Select the right ladder for the task. The ladder’s type is determined by how much weight it can support. The ladder should be selected to be sufficient for your weight plus the weight of any tools and materials you’re carrying.
    • TYPE 1A-Extra-heavy industrial ladder will support 300 lbs.
    • TYPE 1-Heavy-duty industrial ladder will support 250 lbs.
    • TYPE 2-Medium-duty commercial ladder will support 225 lbs.
    • TYPE 3-Light-duty household ladder will support 200 lbs.
  • Stepladders should be fully opened and the spreaders locked. The top two rungs should not be used for standing or sitting.
  • Extension ladders should have proper overlap, depending on their length.
    • Three foot overlap for 32-foot ladder
    • Four foot overlap for 32- to 36-foot ladder
    • Five foot overlap for 36- to 48-foot ladder
    • Six foot overlap for 48-foot ladder
  • Carefully raise the ladder before extending it with the help of a co-worker. Secure the foot of the ladder firmly on a level surface before extending it.
  • The base of the ladder should be ¼ of the distance from the ladder's top support to its bottom support. The ladder should extend 3 feet above the ladder's working surface.
  • Barricade or set up cones at the ladder’s base when using a ladder in an aisle or corridor.
  • Use both hands when climbing. Hoist tools up when needed or wear a tool belt.
  • Don’t stretch in order to reach something. Climb down and move your ladder.
  • Keep the ladder in good condition and inspect it regularly. Look for broken rungs, split side rails, and loose connections.
  • Tag defective ladders  "Out of Order" or "Do Not Use."