Each year, OSHA reports on the types of injuries that happen on the job. Every year, injuries from improper ladder use are high up on the list. Follow these general tips:

  • Use only insulated (fiberglass) ladders.
  • Before you use a ladder, inspect it. If it's damaged (e.g., bent rung), remove it from the work area immediately. Put an “Out of Service” or similar tag on it.
  • Keep the area around the ladder clear of tools and materials.
  • Ensure the ladder is level and standing on something that won't give way.
  • Rather than carry tools when climbing a ladder, use a rope and bucket to raise and lower tools.
  • Allow only one person at a time on a ladder.
  • If you must work from a ladder, face the ladder when doing so. Also face the ladder when going up or down.
  • Use ladders only for purposes they're designed for. Propping one end of a scaffolding board, for example, isn't such a purpose.