Ladder Safety Tips

Topics: Loss Control

Summary: In honor of National Ladder Safety Month, presented every year in March by the American Ladder Institute, we share risk management advice and ladder safety tips to ensure employees required to use ladders understand how to avoid accidents and injuries from falling off a ladder.

Are Ladders Safe?

Falls from portable ladders are a major source of workplace injuries. More than 100 workers are fatally injured in ladder-related accidents each year, with thousands more suffering disabling injuries. Whether you’re on the job site or checking off your to-do list at home, keeping safety top of mind when using a ladder can help avoid a serious injury or even death.

March is National Ladder Safety Month

This year marks the seventh annual National Ladder Safety Month, presented by to the American Ladder Institute (ALI), a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting safe ladder use both at home and in the workplace. National Ladder Safety Month was created to raise awareness of ladder safety and decrease the number of ladder-related injuries and fatalities. According to ALI, without better safety planning and training, we’ll continue to see far too many ladder-related injuries and fatalities.

Throughout Ladder Safety Month, ALI will focus on several key themes, including:
  • Choosing your ladder
  • Safety before the first step (inspection and set up)
  • Safety while climbing
  • Safety at the top

How to Use a Ladder Safely

Employees who utilize ladders to complete job-related duties should be well-trained in ladder safety. Understanding how to use a ladder as safely as possible helps ensure they understand all the various risks invovlved and what precautions to take to prevent a fall.

In recognition of National Ladder Safety Month, here are seven simple tips to remember for safer ladder use.

Ladder Safety Tip #1: Inspect the ladder before use 

Check for broken rungs or rails and loose nails, bolts or screws, and look for any corroded metal part. When using an extension ladder, also check the pulleys, ropes and locks for signs of excessive wear. Lastly, check the footings to make sure they still have a non-skid surface.

Ladder Safety Tip #2: Remember the 4:1 rule for extension ladders

For every four feet of height you are climbing, move the base of the ladder one foot away from the wall. Some ladders have an illustrated guide somewhere on them to help you with this.

Ladder Safety Tip #3: Reach three feet beyond

The ladder should reach at least three feet beyond the point of support, and it should be secured.

Ladder Safety Tip #4: Follow the 3-point rule

Make sure to have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder at all times. 

Ladder Safety Tip #5: Face forward 

When ascending or descending, always face the ladder. Also, remember to have both hands free to grasp it securely. Tools should be carried in a tool belt or pulled up with a rope once you have reached your working area.

Ladder Safety Tip #6: Stay balanced

Don’t overreach! Keep your body between the side rails of the ladder. Staying balanced helps reduce the chance of tipping it over or of falling off. Never try to use a ladder if you're feeling ill, dizzy or weak. 

Ladder Safety Tip #7: Remember your stopping point

When using a straight or extension ladder, don’t climb higher than the third rung from the top. For step ladders, the second tread from the top should be your stopping point.

Bonus Ladder Safety Tips

  • Always read and follow instructions, warnings and markings on a ladder before putting it to use
  • Never join two ladders together to make one longer ladder
  • Don't use a ladder as scaffolding or a runway by placing it in a horizontal position
  • Remember that aluminum ladders are electrically conductive, so be mindful when choosing a ladder for electrical or outdoor work that might be done close to overhead wires

Remember, practicing ladder safety both in the workplace and at home can be the key to preventing a devastating injury.

Loss Control Services from AmTrust Financial

AmTrust offers a wealth of loss control resources, including an extensive library of safety training videos and materials related to a variety of workers' compensation hazards, as well as industry-specific resources. Contact us today for more information. 

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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