March is National Ladder Safety Month!

Why Ladder Safety?

Ladders are an essential piece of equipment on the construction site. However, safe use of a ladder is often ignored, with falls being the leading cause of death in construction and one of the three leading preventable deaths across all occupations. With Ladder Safety Month, the month of March is dedicated to bringing greater awareness to proper ladder use. Ladder safety is vital knowledge for workplace safety, particularly in the field of construction. The everyday use of ladders requires knowledge of ladder materials, specifications, and climbing techniques necessary to properly use a ladder and to avoid injuries and potential fatalities from improper use.

Training is Available for Ladder Safety!  

Before stepping foot on a ladder, all employees should be trained on how to use a ladder properly. Our sister company, TSC Training Academy, provides safety training in the NYC area for proper ladder usage. There are also additional resources beyond our training academy, with free online resources available. The American Ladder Institute provides online Ladder Safety Training for no fee at With classe dedicated to the topic and free online training available, there should be no excuse when it comes to ladder safety. Many online resources available discuss various ladder safety techniques. One such method of ladder safety is three-points-of-contact, designed to keep the body in contact with the ladder with two arms and one leg, or one arm and two legs.

Training for ladder safety includes learning how to select the correct ladder for the job, how to take care of ladders, and how to safely use ladders. Being trained on how to use a ladder can greatly reduce the risk of injury.  If paid training in class or online resources is unavailable, it is recommended to provide a ladder toolbox talk on each project, so employees are reminded of how to be safe while using a ladder. Supervisors should also provide physical literature on ladder safety, with diagrams and charts detailing the correct use of ladders and statistics on ladder injuries.

What Ladder Should You Be Using?

Figuring out which ladder is right for your job is very important.
Ladders that you’ll be using on site may include, but are not limited to:

A Mobile Ladder’s Components

You’ll need to consider the type of ladder to use on site, as well as the material your ladder is made of. If you are going to work near sources of electricity, a fiberglass ladder would help prevent current running through the ladder compared to one made of metal. You’ll also have to make sure your ladder is the proper height to perform your job efficiently. If a ladder is too long or too short, this will make the job unnecessarily difficult. It’s also important to choose the correct Duty Rating, which determines the appropriate weight limit of each ladder. There are five Duty Ratings, which include:

Type IAA (Extra Heavy Duty) 375 pounds
Type IA (Extra Heavy Duty)300 pounds
Type I (Heavy Duty)250 pounds
Type II (Medium Duty)225 pounds
Type III (Light Duty)200 pounds

You need to choose a ladder that is able to support your weight and the weight of your clothing, equipment, or anything you are carrying.

Ladder Specifications and Fall Protection Equipment

In order to avoid receiving OSHA violations, ladders must meet the general specification requirements. There are additional rules for portable ladders and fixed ladders.

OSHA requires neon green trays on the top of OSHA approved ladders, pictured above.
  • Ladder rungs, steps, and cleats are parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use
  • Ladder rungs, steps, and cleats are spaced not less than 10 inches [25 centimeters (cm)] and not more than 14 inches (36 cm) apart, as measured between the center lines of the rungs, cleats, and steps
  • Ladder rungs, steps, and cleats have a minimum clear width of 11.5 inches (29 cm) on portable ladders and 16 inches (41 cm) for fixed ladders
  • Rungs and steps of manhole entry ladders that are supported by the manhole opening must have a minimum clear width of nine inches (23 cm)
  • Rungs and steps on rolling ladders used in telecommunication centers must have a minimum clear width of eight inches (20 cm)
  • Stepstools have a minimum clear width of 10.5 inches (26.7 cm)

If you are using a fixed ladder that is over 24 feet, OSHA requires that fall arrest systems are used to prevent falls on the site. Employers should install personal fall arrest system for ladders that will protect workers from fall injuries. A ladder safety system can be attached to a fixed ladder and it includes a lanyard, connectors, a body harness, and a carrier. Cages and wells are no longer considered ladder safety systems, as those do not provide sufficient protection from fall injuries.

Ladders & Fall Prevention Equipment from TSCSE

TSC Southeast can help you with all of your ladder safety needs. We serve construction sites in the South Florida area through site safety management, installations, as well as supplying skilled labor and equipment through our supply store, Safety Supplies Unlimited. We provide all fall prevention equipment necessary to keep workers safe. Call TSCSE today at 786-360-5240 if your project needs job made ladders or other type of working ladders, or contact us online!

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