Weekly Safety Meeting – Choosing the Right Ladder

 Choosing the Right Ladder

Each year in the U.S more than twenty thousand people are rushed to the emergency room due to ladder related falls and accidents. Ladder accidents and falls can result in severe injury and in some cases even death. The proper precautions must always be taken. Everyone should be taught how to use a ladder in the right way. If employees are not trained properly on how to use a ladder they could fall of the ladder, smash fingers, and other body parts.

When it comes to basic workplace equipment, it doesn’t get much simpler than the ladder. Because ladders are so simplistic, many people overlook their potential hazards. Yet falls account for 15% of workplace injuries and deaths. Many of these falls are from ladders and may have been prevented if a few basics had been followed.

Ladder hazards:

Two questions you should ask each time you use a ladder are:

  • What condition is the ladder in?

  • Am I using the right ladder for the job?

Choosing the right ladder:

When choosing a ladder, first check the weight limit. Ladders are usually rated as follows:


Ladder Types





Special duty ladder that can support 375 pounds


page1image23920Industrial ladder that can support 300 pounds


page1image26624Heavy-duty industrial ladder with a load capacity not more than 250 pounds


Medium-duty commercial ladder with a load capacity not more than 225 pounds



Light-duty household ladder with a load capacity of 200 pounds


Ladder safety tips:

If you follow this list on ladder safety tips, you and your team will be better protected against ladder accidents.

  • It is always important when using a ladder to follow the instructions that come with the ladder. Using a ladder may seem simple but there might be things that you are missing. Always read the directions.

  • When going up or down the ladder make sure that you place your foot firmly on each rung. Hold on tight to the ladder. Never face out when coming up or down a ladder.

  • If possible have two people, one to go up and down the ladder and the other to supervise.

  • If you need to get something down from up high, it is always a good idea to have a person on the ground that you can hand stuff down to.

  • Always take your time when using a ladder. If you are in a rush you are more prone to accidents and falls.

  • Never lean too far to any side. If something is out of your reach, get off the ladder and move it closer.

  • There should never be more than one person on a ladder at any given time.

  • It may seem like fun to play around and make jokes on a ladder but falling of a ladder is never fun.

No Horse Play!

  • Ladders have weight limitations for a reason. Always check to see what the weight limitation is before getting on to a ladder. If you are too heavy or if you are getting something down that could cause too much weight on the ladder, the ladder could break and you could be seriously injured.

  • Make sure the ladder is always steadily on the ground. If not steady this could cause the ladder to fall over or could cause you to fall off.

  • Never stand on the top rung of a ladder. You could easily lose your balance and fall.

  • Do not place a ladder in front of an open door. Make sure the door is locked or blocked off in some way.

  • After the ladder is set into place make sure all the locks are locked.

  • Always use the right size ladder for the task you are doing.

  • When working with any kind of electrical equipment always use a wood ladder. Never a metal one.

  • Make sure that any metal ladder you are using has slip resistant coating in good shape on each rung.

  • If using a straight ladder put it at a 75 degree angle on the surface you most climb.

  • Remember to never leave a ladder unattended.

Ladders are a pretty simple type of equipment. But don’t allow that simplicity to get in the way of following safe procedures. As soon as you start feeling like an accident won’t happen, the possibility of it occurring skyrockets.

Ladder inspection is a must so you don’t end up in the dust!! 


Download flyer: SMOTW_41_ChoosingLadder.pdf (127.18 kb)

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