March is National Ladder Safety Month: Here’s What You Should Know

March is National Ladder Safety Month: Here’s What You Should Know

Understanding ways to stay compliant and safe on a ladder is crucial to the safety of the employees using them.

Ladders can be a very helpful tool on construction sites, but if not used properly, they can become very dangerous. This is proven by OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards list where Ladders, Construction (29 CFR 1926.1053) has sitting at number six for many years now.

Understanding ways to stay compliant and safe on a ladder is crucial to the safety of the employees using them. In order to bulk up education and awareness for ladder safety as well as decrease the amount of injuries and fatalities related to ladders, March has been named National Ladder Safety Month.

Here are some specific requirements designed to ensure worker safety in the OSHA Standard for Ladders:

Loads

Self-supporting (foldout) and non-self-supporting (leaning) ladders must be able to support at least four times the maximum intended load. Exceptions are extra-heavy-duty metal or plastic ladders, which must be able to sustain 3.3 times the maximum intended load.

Angle

Non-self-supporting ladders, which are meant to lean against other support, are to be positioned at an angle that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about a fourth of the working length of the ladder.

Rungs

Ladder rungs, cleats, or steps must be parallel, level and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use. Rungs should be spaced between 10 and 14 inches apart. Rungs must also be shared that an employee’s foot cannot slide off, and must be skid-resistant.

Slipping

Ladders are to be kept free of oil, grease, wet paint and other slipping hazards. For ladders made from wood materials, the ladder must not be coated with an opaque covering, except identification or warning labels on one face only of a side rail.

Other Relevant 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.
  • 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. 
  • Never use a ladder for any purpose other than the one for which it was designed.

For more information on National Ladder Safety Month, visit laddersafetymonth.com.

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