Ladder safety resources

Skip, SFM’s safety hero, is on a crusade to prevent slips, trips and falls — including falls from ladders.

Falls from heights continue to be a top cause of workplace injuries. More than a third of workplace fatalities in the U.S. in 2018 were due to a fall from elevation, OSHA reports.

According to the American Ladder Institute (ALI), the five most common causes of ladder accidents include:

  • Missing the last step when climbing down
  • Overreaching
  • The ladder was not the right size for the job
  • The individual stood on the top rung/ladder cap
  • The ladder was not in good working condition

Practice safe ladder use

You can prevent many falls from heights by following a few simple rules.

  • Use the right ladder for the job. Don't use a step ladder as a straight ladder.
  • Make sure the ladder is in good condition – see our tips on proper ladder inspection.
  • Ensure the load rating is adequate for the job and make sure to include the weight of the worker, materials and tools in your estimation.
  • Keep it placed on a firm surface. Use plywood or other similar materials if the ground is too soft.
  • Keep the base of the ladder 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet of height.
  • Don’t overreach. Maintain your balance when working on a ladder and rather than reaching, climb down and move the ladder to a better position.
  • Maintain three points of contact on the ladder.
  • Never climb a ladder with your hands full. Instead use proper carrying devices.
  • Face the ladder when climbing or descending.

Woman climbing up a ladder

Ladder safety resources

Proper ladder use can be made easier by accessing the ladder safety app from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health . The app includes an angle measuring tool, inspection checklist and rules for proper use.

OSHA also has ladder safety tips to stop falls .

SFM offers hundreds of safety training resources to help prevent workplace injuries. Download these ladder safety resources to remind your employees not to risk a fall.

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