This year, GBCA is participating in OSHA’s Focus Four Campaign, providing resources to avoid incidents involving OSHA’s Focus Four hazards. This week’s toolbox talk is about preventing falls from ladders. Scroll down to read it. Click below to download it as a printable Toolbox Talk.

Preventing Falls From Ladders

Ask the following questions and give time for answers.

  • What are the hazards?
    • Falls from heights from extension or stepladder use
  • What are the results?
    • Broken bones, internal damage, death
  • What should we look for?
    • Improper type, damaged ladder, improper ladder placement, ladder not tied off, ladder not extending 36” above deck, improper climbing procedures, standing on top step of a Stepladder; standing on the first rung of an extension ladder

Actual Incident:

Washington, DC: An employee was installing lighting while working on an “A‐Frame” stepladder. The employee stepped onto the top step to complete the installation. While on the top step, he lost his balance and fell 15 feet to the lower level. The employee sustained fatal injuries

How do we prevent these results or similar incidents?

  • Do not stand on the top step of a step ladder or fourth rung of an extension ladder.
  • Use the correct ladder type for the job.
  • Properly set the ladder at 1:4 base to height ratio with feet on bottom, extended arms should touch the rung.
  • Set base; tie off the ladder; and extend the ladder 36” above deck or provide grabrails.
  • Use proper climbing procedures; always maintain 3 points of contact.
  • Use equipment as it is intended and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Ask the following questions about ladders on this site and ensure every item is covered.

Let’s talk about this site now:

  • How do you properly inspect a ladder before it is used?
  • Find the labeling on the ladder and discuss the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines.
  • How do you set up an extension ladder?
  • How do you properly use an “A‐frame” stepladder?
  • Are there any damaged ladders at this site?
  • What factors increase the risk of falls from ladders?