Environmental Health & Safety

Ladder Safety Self-Study Unit

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The chief hazard when using a ladder is falling. A poorly designed, maintained, or improperly used ladder may collapse under the load placed upon it and cause the employee to fall.

A ladder is an appliance consisting of two side rails joined at regular intervals by crosspieces on which a person may step to ascend or descend.


Stepladder – A self-supporting portable ladder, non-adjustable in length, having flat steps and hinged back.

Single Ladder – A non self-supporting portable ladder, nonadjustable in length, consisting of but one section. Its size is designed by overall length of the side rail.

Extension Ladder – A non self-supporting portable ladder adjustable in length.


Portable stepladders longer than 20 feet shall not be used.

Stepladders shall be equipped with a metal spreader or locking device of sufficient size and strength to securely hold the front and back sections in open position.

Single ladders longer than 30 feet shall not be used.

Extension ladders longer than 60 feet shall not be used.

Ladders shall be maintained in good condition at all times.

Ladders shall be inspected frequently and those which have developed defects shall be tagged or marked (Dangerous, Do Not Use) and removed from service for repair or destruction.

Proper use of ladders is essential in preventing accidents. Even a good ladder can be a serious safety hazard when used by workers in a dangerous way.

OSHA standards require the following safety precautions for ladder use:

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We would like to assess your learning and also document  your participation in this self study.  To do this,, we have provided a short multiple choice test.  To take this test, you may click on the highlighted Post Test now.