Workplace accidents happen every day. A team member forgets to clean grease off a ladder rung, lock a brace in place or check for missing bolts. Then, an employee falls and hurts themselves or, even worse, is fatally injured. Fortunately, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says, these “hazards can be eliminated or substantially reduced by following good safety practices.” To help protect workers on the job, CTEH is sharing a few of its general ladder guidelines:

  1. Plan ahead: Each ladder type has specific limitations for height, weight and load capacity so workers should always read and follow label instructions. Before use, individuals should also check for defects, visible structural damage or contaminants (e.g., grease, dirt) that may cause accidental slips or falls.
  2. Set-up correctly: Ladders should be placed on stable and level surfaces at the proper angle (i.e., one quarter of a ladder’s working length away from the wall) to ensure maximum steadiness. They should never be used in high-traffic areas; in close proximity to electrical wiring and equipment; or on top of boxes, barrels or other makeshift bases.
  3. Follow protocol: Individuals should always maintain three points of contact on a ladder. By doing this, they are more likely to keep their bodies facing forward near the middle of the ladder in the most secure position. They should never use the top steps or rungs unless the ladder is specifically designed for that purpose.
  4. Focus on training: Employers should provide a thorough training program for workers who are required to use ladders in their everyday tasks. The program should teach employees to recognize ladder-related safety issues and utilize ladders properly to reduce those risks.

 Need help developing a training program for your workplace or have questions about OSHA ladder requirements? Contact CTEH at 501-801-8500 or