This GBCA Safety Toolbox Talk discusses how to choose and use the correct ladder for the job. Click below to download the Toolbox Talk as a handout (includes Sign-In Sheet).




Ladder Safety: Choose & Use the Correct Ladder

Applying proper ladder safety techniques can reduce the likelihood of an injury whether you’re using a ladder at work or at home. Ladder safety starts by choosing the correct ladder. Using a ladder safely can make a job easier. Incorrect ladder use can lead to a fall resulting in a trip to the hospital, or worse, a fatality.

Choose the right ladder for your application:

  • Select the correct style of ladder needed for your application:
    • Do you need a straight, A-frame, extension, or other ladder?
  • Select the appropriate ladder height:
    • Remember an extension ladder needs to extend 3 feet above a roofline or working platform.
  • Select the appropriate ladder duty rating:
    • See the load rating on the affixed factory sticker. If there is no sticker or you can’t read the sticker, don’t use the ladder.
  • Select the proper ladder material:
    • Use fiberglass when working around electricity. Many construction sites only allow fiberglass ladders on site.
    • Avoid using aluminum ladders around energized power lines.

When using a ladder, use these key points:

  • Keep your belt buckle in between the side rails to make sure your body is centered.
  • When ascending and descending, face the ladder.
  • Use three points of contact when climbing a ladder.
  • Remember the highest standing level on a stepladder is two steps down from the top.
  • Remember the highest standing level on an extension ladder is four rungs from the top.
  • Always inspect ladders for structural defects such as broken or missing rungs, cracked side rails, corroded components, or other faulty or defective components. In the event a ladder fails inspection, do not use the ladder and notify management. Tag the ladder as not safe to use, and remove it from the site.


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