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January safety tip: Ladder safety


Prevent injuries at work; follow ladder safety tips.

Each year, many workers in Washington State are seriously injured from falling off ladders at work. These injuries include dislocated limbs, broken bones and head injuries. In a few cases, workers haven died from their injuries. These accidents occur because:

  • The ladder moves, falls over or is set up improperly.
  • The worker slips on the rungs, overreaches or carries objects while climbing the ladder.
  • The worker stands on the top cap of the ladder.
  • The ladder being used is not in good condition.

To prevent any mishaps at work or at home, read the following tips for ladder safety:

  1. Carefully inspect the ladder for defects, checking for cracks, corrosion, and that bolts and rivets are secure. Tag and remove unsafe ladders from service.
  2. Make sure the ladder's feet work properly and have slip-resistant pads.
  3. Use a fiberglass ladder if there is any chance of contact with electricity.
  4. When setting the ladder, look for a safe location with firm, level footing and rigid support for the top of the ladder. Be sure to set it at an angle per the manufacturer's guidance.
  5. When climbing off a ladder at an upper level, make sure the ladder extends three feet above the landing.
  6. When climbing the ladder, use three points of contact - keep one hand and both feet or both hands and one foot in contact with the ladder at all times.
  7. Never carry any load that could cause you to lose balance.
  8. Never stand on top of a ladder.
  9. Don't pull, lean, stretch or make sudden moves on a ladder that could cause it to tip over.
  10. Avoid setting the ladder near exit doors, near the path of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.