Toolbox Safety Tip 48


The ladder is one of the most frequently used pieces of equipment on the job.  They are also a tool that we use improperly and lead to many severe injuries.  Major factors contributing to ladder accidents are:

Climbing or descending improperly.

Failing to secure or tie-off the ladder at the top or failure to secure the ladder at the bottom.
Using broken or damaged ladders.
Carrying objects while climbing or descending.

Generally, commercial ladders are constructed properly and of sound material.  However, after they have been in use for some time; they are often damaged by rough handling, being struck by heavy objects, and other causes.  Failure to report a defect on the part of anyone using a damaged ladder may cause serious injury.

Follow these safety rules for ladders:

You will hear many arguments about the best way to climb a ladder.  Many people say, “Use the hands on the rungs.”  Others say “Grip the side rails.”  Everyone agrees that either method is fine, as long as you use BOTH HANDS.

Too often, ladders are not secured either at the top or at the bottom.  It takes only a few minutes to tie off a ladder.  Set ladders at the proper angle.  Ladders should be set at a 1 to 4 pitch.  (That’s 1 foot out for each 4 feet of height.)  Ladders must be long enough to extend AT LEAST 3 FEET above the landing and tied-off.

When it is necessary to get tools and/or materials from the ground up to the work level, or down again; do not carry them on the ladder.  Use a hand line to haul them up or let them down.  Ladders are an important tool in construction, use them safely.