Your employees don’t spend all day sitting at a desk — they’re often out in the field supervising project sites. It’s your responsibility to keep them just as safe when they’re in hazardous areas, as when they’re in the safe confines of your office. One notable worksite safety concern is ladders. This piece of equipment seems relatively harmless, but if not used properly, it can be very dangerous.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has created strict guidelines to help keep your valued employees safe when using ladders. It’s important to take these standards seriously, as there’s nothing more important than the health and safety of your team.

OSHA Ladder Regulations

Need a little guidance on worksite ladder safety? Here’s a brief overview of OSHA guidelines:

  • Self-supporting and non-self-supporting portable ladders must be able to hold at least four times the maximum load intended or 3.3 times that amount for extra-heavy-duty type 1A metal or plastic ladders.
  • Fixed ladders must be able to hold at least two loads of 250 pounds each, clustered between any two consecutive attachments, plus anticipated loads caused by issues such as adverse weather conditions.
  • Ladder rungs, cleats and steps are required to be parallel, level and uniformly spaced when the ladder is placed for use.
  • Rungs, cleats and steps of both portable and fixed ladders must not be spaced less than 10 inches and more than 14 inches apart.
  • Rungs of steps and fixed metal ladders manufactured after March 15, 1991, are required to be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material and otherwise treated to minimize slipping.
  • Rungs and steps of portable metal ladders shall be corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material or any other effective method to minimize slipping.
  • Ladders must not be tied or fastened together to provide longer sections unless they are specifically designed for this use.
  • Fixed ladders must have cages, wells, ladder safety devices or self-retracting lifelines when the length of climb is less than 24 feet, but the top of the ladder is greater than 24 ft. above lower levels.

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