• Ladder Safety
Loads
  • Self-supporting (foldout) and non-self-supporting (leaning) portable ladders must be able to support at least four times the maximum intended load, except extra-heavy-duty metal or plastic ladders, which must be able to sustain 3.3 times the maximum intended load. (See Figure 1.)
5-Step foldout ladder
Figure 1


Worker on a metal ladder leaning against the outside of a house
Figure 2


Close-up image of a metal step of a ladder
Figure 3


Close-up image of the middle of a metal foldout ladder
Figure 4


Metal stepladder with a middle locking device
Figure 5
 
Angle
  • Non-self-supporting ladders, which must lean against a wall or other support, are to be positioned at such an angle that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about 1/4 the working length of the ladder. (See Figure 2.)
     
  • In the case of job-made wooden ladders, that angle should equal about 1/8 the working length. This minimizes the strain of the load on ladder joints that may not be as strong as on commercially manufactured ladders.
Rungs
  • Ladder rungs, cleats, or steps must be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use. Rungs must be spaced between 10 and 14 inches apart.

    For extension trestle ladders, the spacing must be 8-18 inches for the base, and 6-12 inches on the extension section.
     
  • Rungs must be so shaped that an employee's foot cannot slide off, and must be skid-resistant. (See Figure 3.)
Slipping
  • Ladders are to be kept free of oil, grease, wet paint, and other slipping hazards.
     
  • Wood ladders must not be coated with any opaque covering, except identification or warning labels on one face only of a side rail.
Other Requirements
  • Foldout or stepladders must have a metal spreader or locking device to hold the front and back sections in an open position when in use. (See Figure 4.)
     
  • When two or more ladders are used to reach a work area, they must be offset with a landing or platform between the ladders.

    The area around the top and bottom of ladder must be kept clear.

    Ladders must not be tied or fastened together to provide longer sections, unless they are specifically designed for such use. (See Figure 5.)
     
  • Never use a ladder for any purpose other than the one for which it was designed.
Book Additional Information:

 
Worker improperly standing on the top rung of a stepladder working on a doorway of a building This is improperly using the top rung of this step ladder to work from.