Falls from ladders cause more than 100 deaths and thousands of injuries each year in the United States. These incidents also include injuries to nearly 900 workers in Washington State. Improper ladder use ranked 7th among the state’s top 10 workplace safety and health violations in 2019. Now in its fifth year, National Ladder Safety Month takes place every March to educate, train, and involve the public in preventing ladder injuries and deaths at home and at work. Celebrate by having your workers take the American Ladder Institute’s free online ladder safety training. You can also show workers how to use the free ladder safety app from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Common causes of workplace ladder-related incidents include:

  • Lack of ladder safety training.
  • Ladder used is in bad condition.
  • Ladder moves, falls over, or is set up improperly.
  • Worker slips on the rungs, overreaches, or carries objects while climbing the ladder.
  • Worker stands on the ladder’s top step.

The following tips can help keep workers safe while using ladders:

Plan for the job:

  • Use the right ladder for the job with the proper load capacity.
  • Inspect the ladder for defects and remove unsafe ladders from service.
  • Use a fiberglass ladder if there is any chance of contact with electricity.

Set your ladder carefully:

  • Set the ladder on a firm, level base, and angle it per the manufacturer’s guidance.
  • Don’t set the ladder near exit doors or near the path of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  • Make sure the ladder extends 3 feet above the landing.

Climb safely:

  • When climbing, use three points of contact — keep 1 hand and both feet or both hands and 1 foot in contact with the ladder at all times.
  • Never carry any load that could cause you to lose balance.
  • Never stand on the top step of a ladder.
  • Don’t pull, lean, stretch or make sudden moves on a ladder that could cause it to tip over. 

The following links can help you train employees to use ladders safely:

Keep Trucking Safe tanker trailer ladder simulation tool and flatbed trailer ladder safety tips

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries ladder safety resources

OSHA ladder safety training fact sheets

OSHA construction ladders safety eTool