Ladder Safety Checklist

Fall is a great time to button up outdoor projects before inclement weather makes it impossible to work outdoors. Here are a few tips from OSHA to remember when working on ladders:

  • Select the proper ladder There are two types of ladders: fixed and portable. If you need to use a portable ladder, decide whether you need a self-supporting ladder (an “A” frame), or a straight ladder or extension ladder.
  • Always inspect the ladder first. Check for any damage such as cracks, bends, splits or corrosion. If you are working on an extension ladder, check to see that there are no frays in the rope.
  • Check all the rungs and the steps.
  • Remember to use slip-resistant pads to make sure the ladder can be properly placed on the surface.
  • Make sure locks and bracers are working properly, and that all bolts are securely fastened.
  • When setting up and using a straight or extension ladder, use two people to carry and set up a ladder, if possible.
  • Don’t place ladders in front of door unless the doors are blocked off, locked or guarded.
  • Don’t place ladders on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases.
  • When using a ladder to get onto a roof, the top of the ladder must extend at least 3 feet above the roof surface.

Ten Tips When Using a Ladder

  1. Hold on with both hands when going up or down. Always use at least one hand to hold on.
  2. If material must be handled, hoist it up and lower it using a rope.
  3. Always face the ladder when climbing up or down.
  4. Always rest a ladder on the side rails – never on the rungs.
  5. Do not climb higher than the 3rd rung from the top on straight or extension ladders.
  6. Do not climb higher than the 2nd tread from the top on step ladders.
  7. Do not reach your body to a point where your waist is beyond the side rails.
  8. Do not use a metal ladder near electricity (be at least 10 ft. away).
  9. Use three-point contact at all times, always with at least one hand on the ladder. Carry only small objects, and no heavy loads.
  10. Take special precautions when setting up or climbing a ladder on a windy day.