Climb the Ladder with Success!


Ladders are in our top 5 most frequently used tools. Recent data from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) National Center for Health Statistics stated that in the United States, more than 500,00 people are treated, and more than 300 die each year from ladder related injuries. A look further into our NAICS code, OSHA reports there were 13,730 reportable injuries that resulted in days away from work. Of those injuries, 920 were falls from ladders. 

Basic safety rules for the safe use of a ladder: 

  • If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off a ladder. 
  • Do not use ladders in high winds or storms. 
  • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. 
  • Inspect the ladder before use for serviceable condition. 
  • Ladders with loose or missing parts must be rejected. 
  • The ladder you select must be the right size for the job. 
  • The Duty Rating of the ladder must be greater than the total weight of the climber, tools, supplies, and other objects placed upon the ladder. The length of the ladder must be sufficient so that the climber does not have to stand on the top rung or step. 
  • When the ladder is set up for use, it must be placed on firm level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points. 
  • Only one person at a time is permitted on a ladder unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber (such as a Trestle Ladder). 
  • Ladders must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. The door must be blocked open, locked, or guarded. 
  • Read the safety information labels on the ladder. 

The on-product safety information is specific to the particular type of ladder on which it appears. The climber is not considered qualified or adequately trained to use the ladder until familiar with this information. 



Don’t Fall for That…. 

Haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, the condition of the ladder (worn or damaged), the user's age, physical condition, or both, and the user's foot-wear are all factors contributing to falls from ladders.

Although the user's weight or size typically does not increase the likelihood of a fall, improper climbing posture creates user clumsiness and may cause falls. 

Reduce your chances of falling during the climb by: 

  • Wear slip-resistant shoes with heavy soles to prevent foot fatigue 
  • Prior to climbing a ladder, clean the soles of your shoes to maximize traction 
  • Use towlines, a tool belt or an assistant to convey materials so that the climber’s hands are free when climbing 
  • Climb slowly and deliberately while avoiding sudden movement 
  • Never move a ladder while standing on it 
  • Keep the center of your belt buckle (stomach) between the ladder side rails when climbing and while working 
  • Do not overreach or lean while working so that you don't fall off the ladder sideways or pull the ladder over sideways while standing on it

When climbing a ladder, it is safest to utilize Three Points-of-Contact because it minimizes the chances of slipping and falling from the ladder. At all times during ascent/descent, and while working, the climber must face the ladder and have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder rungs and/or side rails. In this way, the climber is not likely to become unstable in the event one limb slips during the climb. It is important to note that the climber must not carry any objects in either hand that can interfere with a firm grip on the ladder; otherwise, Three Points-of-Contact with the ladder cannot be adequately maintained and the chance of falling is increased in the event a hand or foot slip occurs.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 50% of ladder-related accidents were due to individuals carrying items while they were climbing. 


For more important information and labeling examples,
please download this edition of Wachs Weekly!