ES&H Safety Tip: Using Ladders Safely
Ladders are commonly used across the Laboratory. But did
you know that more than half a million people a year are treated for
ladder-related injuries? Please keep safety, and these tips for safe
ladder usage, in mind whenever you plan an action using a ladder. You
might want to keep these points in mind with the ladders you have at
should be tilted at a 4:1 ratio, meaning that the base of the
ladder should be one foot away from the wall or other vertical
surface for every four feet of height to the point of support.
(Image courtesy of OSHA)
• Both single and extension ladders should be
equipped with nonskid safety feet and should be placed on a firm, level
surface. The distance from the ladder’s base to the wall should equal
one-fourth the distance from the base to the point of support.
• Never set ladders on boxes or other objects to make the ladder reach
• Lock or barricade any doors that may
open toward ladders.
• Approximately three feet of a
straight ladder should extend above the topmost spot to be reached.
• Never stand above the third rung from the top of a straight ladder or
above the second highest step of a stepladder.
Never use stepladders as straight ladders. Open stepladders fully and
make sure that the spreader is locked securely.
Only one person should be on a ladder at a time and should always face
the ladder when going up or down.
• While on a
straight ladder, hold on with one hand and do not overreach. It is safer
to climb down and move the ladder.
• If you use a
metal ladder, make sure that it—or you—does not come into contact with
electric wires or equipment.
• Never carry large
objects while ascending or descending a ladder. To carry tools and
accessories, use shoulder straps, bags or hand lines.
• Inspect all ladders before each use.
ladders should be tagged ’dangerous—do not use’ or destroyed and removed
from service without delay.
• Ladder steps and rungs
should be kept free from oil and other foreign matter.
• Ladders should not be painted because paint may conceal defects,
labels or other markings.
For more information refer
to the ES&H Manual, Chapter 15
or take Course 293, Stairway and Ladder Safety.
If you have any questions call the Safety Service Desk at Ext. 4554.