Ladder safety

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Ladder safety - McCraren Compliance

“Ladders are tools,” the American Ladder Institute says. “Many of the basic safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to the safe use of a ladder.”

A fall from a ladder can result from sudden movement, working too quickly, not paying attention, using a damaged ladder and improper footwear. The institute, which recognizes March as National Ladder Safety Month, offers tips to prepare to work on a ladder:

  • Feeling tired or dizzy? Stay off the ladder.
  • Inspect the ladder before use to ensure it’s in good working order.
  • Make sure you’re using the right size ladder for the job.
  • Don’t use ladders during storms or high wind.
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes if you’ll be climbing a ladder.
  • Set up the ladder on firm, level ground away from doors.
  • Allow only one person on the ladder at a time, and don’t carry items in your hands that can interfere with your grip.

When it’s time to climb the ladder, remember that you’ll need to maintain three points of contact to avoid a fall.

“At all times during ascent, descent and working, the climber must face the ladder and have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder steps, rungs and/or side rails,” the institute says. “This way, the climber is not likely to become unstable in the event one limb slips during the climb.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Ladder safety during the COVID-19 pandemic: Association releases guidance

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Photo: Zephyr18/iStockphoto

Glasgow, Scotland — More regular deep cleaning of ladders are among the tips the Ladder Association has developed for employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The free online resource cites as the basis of its recommendation a study, published in April in the New England Journal of Medicine, showing that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) can live on stainless steel or plastic ladders for up to 72 hours.

Employers should communicate measures they’re taking to protect workers, remind employees about proper hygiene practices and encourage workers to stay at least 6 feet away from others. Because physical distancing can be difficult to practice when multiple people are needed to perform certain ladder tasks, including stabilizing and raising the equipment, the association has tips for employers to consider for these activities. Employers also should perform risk assessments and review rescue plans.

“Keeping ladder users safe now means protecting them from coronavirus as well as falls and other injuries,” Gail Hounslea, chair of the Ladder Association and managing director of the Ladderstore, said in a June 12 press release. “Businesses are facing the unprecedented challenge of getting people safely back to work during a pandemic. Ladders are only a small part of what they’ve got to consider, but we realized we could use our expertise to support all those whose workers will be heading back up ladders and need to ensure every safety aspect is covered.”

March is National Ladder Safety Month

Every year more than 100 workers are fatally injured and thousands suffer disabling injuries in ladder-related incidents. In March, the American Ladder Institute is sponsoring its annual National Ladder Safety Month to promote ladder safety at work and home. OSHA will be participating in two symposiums on March 13 in Houston, Texas, (register to attend in person or via live webcast) and March 19 in Arlington, Texas, (register to attend in person or via live webcast).