Monday, July 27, 2020

Portable Ladder Safety Rules

Why Ladder Safety is so important?

Falls from height (portable ladders) are a leading cause of critical injuries at the worksite. A comprehensive study exposes that 45% of fatal falls and 25% of occupational fall injuries occur due to the ladders. Being a general item that is utilized at every worksite for various MEP services, it is misunderstood that ladder work requires no special knowledge or skills, but this is not true.

Types of Industrial Ladders

  1. Single Pole Ladders or Straight Ladders.
  2. Extension Ladders.
  3. Step Ladders.
  4. The Dual Purpose Ladders (stepladder hinged for the provision of an extension).
  5. Platform (podium) Ladders.
Common Causes of Ladder Accidents
  1. Selecting the Wrong Type of Ladder.
  2. Using Worn or Damaged Ladders.
  3. Insufficient Height.
  4. Combining 2-Two or more ladders.
  5. Placing ladders on unstable surfaces.
  6. Overreaching/leaning.
  7. Missing the last step of the portable ladder when climbing down.             
While some of these practices may seem to be failures of common sense, many unsafe uses of a ladder can be corrected with the proper training.

Ladder Safety Rules

Ladders are tools. Most of the primary safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to the safe use of a portable ladder. A huge number of occupational injuries occur each year from the inappropriate use of portable ladders.
  1. Portable Ladders should be used for access purposes only. Inspect and observe the portable ladder to make sure that there is no damage or obvious fault such as critical cracks, missing pieces, bent or deteriorated stiles or rungs, worn rubber feet. 
  2. Most of the portable ladders are fabricated to support one person only. Allow only one person at a time on a portable ladder unless the ladder is particularly made for two people.
  3. While ascending or descending the ladders, face the ladder. With both the hands-free without any loads on hand and never carry heavy or bulky loads up a portable ladder. 
  4. Always use the portable ladder at a safe angle. (75 Degrees). When installing the portable ladder, keep in mind the rule (4 -1) (Four to One): For every four-4 feet of height, you have to climb, move the base one foot away from the wall.
  5. 3-Point Contacts: Always maintain (3-points of contact) while climbing/ascending (this means 1-Hand & 2-Feet (OR) 2-Two Hands & 1- Foot). The question of when to break the 3-points rule?  It should only when you reach the ground or a secure and steady platform. 
  6. Where 2-Hands required to be free for a short period. Always keep 2-Feet on the same step. The body sustained or sported by the stepladder to maintain 3-Points of contact. Make sure a safe handhold is access able. 
  7. The most routine mistake by the portable or other type of ladders is over-reach practice. Do not over-reach. When you start to lean over too far, you lean to lose your balance. Position the portable ladder as close as possible to the work. Do not reach out, move the portable ladder instead of practising the reach.
  8. As being ladder user, and want to access another level, the portable ladder must be extended at least 3-feet (0.9 Meters) above the landing surface to provide a handhold for getting on and off the ladder.To prevent the displacement of the portable ladder, it should be secured rigidly at the top and the bottom. Also, a portable ladder Tie-Off arrangement is advisable for better occupational safety. 
  9. Never stand on the portable or other general ladder’s TOP rung for working. Don't stand higher than the fourth rung from the top of the ladder.  
  10. The portable ladder should be installed on a firm & stable, level ground. Do not install a ladder on an unstable footing or lose ground.
  11. Use step portable ladders only with lockable spreader bars (Hinge Joints) on both sides connected to the front and rear stiles. 
  12. Do Not sit on the portable Ladders. Work on a ladder for a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes at a time. 
  13. Any repairs to a ladder should be conducted using the same materials and to the genuine and approved manufacturer's design specification or preferably done by the manufacturer.


  • Ladders to be used for access only.
  • Ladders should be free from defects.
  • Only one person at a time.
  • Always face the ladder while using.
  • Do not carry heavy materials.
  • Use safe angle – 75 Degree; (4:1 Rule)     
  • Always have 3-Point Contacts.
  • Break 3-Point on the ground or a platform.   
  • Ladder to be extended 3-Feet above the landing surface
  • The secure ladder at top and bottom.
  • Never stand on the top rung.
  • The ladder should be on a levelled surface
  • Step ladders to be used with locks.
  • Do not sit on ladders.
  • Do not work for more than 30-Minutes.
  • Do Not Over Reach.
  • Read safety instructions carefully.

Repairs on ladders should be done in line with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specifications only.

 Download File

Portable Ladder Safety Rules

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