Portable Ladder Safety
OSHA has issues guidelines for both the design and use of portable ladders.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.25 Portable Wood Ladders
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.26 Portable Metal Ladders
Keys to compliance for Supervisors
- Only commercially-manufactured portable ladders are allowed in the work place. Hand-constructed ladders are not permitted.
- Commercial ladders include information on the weight-bearing capacity of the ladder, and the maximum height for which the ladder is to be used.
- Ladders should be used only for the purposes for which they were designed.
- Ladders require regular inspection and maintenance.
- Aluminum ladders are unsuitable for work on or near electrical circuits or wiring.
- Fiber glass ladders are susceptible to sun and weather damage and should not be stored outdoors.
Frequently asked Questions
Q. Ladders are labeled by Type: Type I to Type IV. What does this designation mean?
A. The types indicate the maximum weight the ladder can hold. This includes the weight of the worker plus all tools and materials he/she carries onto the ladder. Most ladders specify the weight in pounds, as well as the type designation.
Q. If I am using a straight ladder, how far out from the building should the feet be placed?
A. When straight ladders or extension ladders are placed against a vertical surface, the angle shall be a ratio of one foot horizontal for every four foot vertical. When straight ladders or extension ladders are used to access roofs or similar structures, the ladder must extend at least three feet above the roof surface.
Links to written programs, further information