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Ladder Safety

by Dr. Isabel Perry, “The Safety Doctor”


(362 words)

17.4% of all fatal work injuries are caused by falls.


About 19 %of all permanent disabilities and 21 % of all temporary total disabilities on the job are caused by falls, many of them from ladders.  We all get busy and don’t pay close attention to what we’re doing.  Take the time to be safe on a ladder.  Most of it is common sense.


Before Using a Ladder:

Inspect your ladder before using it.  Are there broken rungs, or damaged rails?

There should be non-skid shoes on all ladders.

Clean the rungs of any grease or other foreign substances.

The ladder should not be wobbly when set up.

Don’t use metal ladders around electrical equipment or wires.

Position your ladder properly.  It should extend one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height.  It should have three rungs above the top point at which you want to work.

Place ladder on a firm foundation.  Don’t put it up on boxes or other supports.

Tie off your ladder – top and bottom.

Don’t use a stepladder as a straight ladder.


Actions of Others:

Look around to see if there are doorways where people might come through and accidentally bump your ladder.  You may need to block the door while you are working.


Using a Ladder:

Use the correct size of ladder for the job.

Climb the ladder holding on with both hands.

If you need to bring things up with you,  go up the ladder first, then hoist the materials up or have someone pass things up to you if the distance isn’t too great.

Don’t climb above the third rung from the top on any type of ladder.

Only one person should be on the ladder at a time.

As the work you are doing gets farther away from you,  instead of reaching that extra couple of inches, move the ladder.


I’m sure you have a good idea of what can happen in a ladder accident, so let’s do everything possible to prevent one from happening to you or someone you know.  Taking a few minutes to prepare properly for the job will save you from becoming a possible statistic.


Dr. Isabel Perry is an internationally-known safety expert, motivational speaker, author, and safety educator.  Based in Orlando , Florida , she can be reached at 407-291-1209 or via e-mail at Is[email protected]