Department of Labor
Ladder Safety Website

Ladder Review
 

Ladder Checklists:

 

The most important goal in ladder safety is to MANAGE and MINIMIZE RISK.  These checklists can help keep you safe. Use them before you start work on a ladder.

 

Ladder Safety Checklist 

1. General Ladder Use 

1. Re-check set-up during climb (levelness, stability of base, etc.). 

2. Re-check shoes for mud, paint, oil, or other slick/sticky substances. 

3. Use a spotter whenever possible. 

4. Maintain 3-point contact with ladder. 

5. Face ladder when climbing, descending, or working from ladder. 

6. Keep body centered within frame of ladder. 

7. Re-check ground for clutter and note traffic patterns. 

8. Avoid standing on top three rungs. 

9. Use a rope or lift to raise or lower materials or tools. 

10. For access to upper level, re-check top tie-off. 

11. For access to upper level, re-check that ladder extends 3 feet above resting point. 

 

2. Climbing Ladder While Carrying Materials by Hand (when a rope or lift is not practical) 

1. Rope-off area on ground underneath work area. 

2. Keep at least one hand on ladder. 

3. Put both feet on each rung while climbing. 

4. Keep body centered within frame of ladder. 

5. Carefully transfer carried items to secure location when working height is reached. 

 

3. Working From A Ladder 

1. Keep both feet on same rung while working. 

2. Keep belt buckle inside frame of ladder. 

3. Re-check area below in case load is dropped. 

4. Tie-off top of ladder. 

5. Use body harness and separately anchored lifeline. 

6. Maintain 3-point contact with ladder. 

 

4. Stepping On/Off A Ladder At Height 

1. Free hands of all materials before stepping on/off ladder. 

2. Maintain 3-point contact. 

3. Re-check tie-off at top of ladder. 

4. Check for hazards before stepping on/off ladder. 

 

5. Descending Ladder 

1. Maintain 3-point contact with ladder. 

2. Face ladder during walk down. 

3. Put both feet on each rung while descending. 

4. Check ground for clutter before last step.


 

Portable Wooden Ladders Self-Inspection Checklist

If you answer “no” for any of the following items, correct this deficiency prior to using the ladder or do not use the ladder.

1. Are all wooden ladder parts free of sharp edges and splinters; solidly constructed; and decay free? 

2. Are steps or rungs evenly spaced and not more than 12 inches apart?

3. Is the width between the side rails at least 11 ˝ inches?

4. Is the metal spreader/locking device strong enough to securely hold the front and back sections of the ladder in the open position?

5. Is the “single” wooden ladder 30 feet or less long?

6. Are the two-section wooden extension ladder 60 feet or less long?

7. Are all joints between the step and side rails tight, all hardware and fittings secure, and all moveable parts working properly and not binding or loose?

8. Is any rope on the ladder in good condition and not frayed?

9. Are the “safety feet” in good condition? Yes No NA

10. Are rungs free of grease and oil?

NOTE: Wooden ladders with missing steps, rungs, or cleats, broken side rails or other faulty equipment must not be used. It is recommended that discarded ladders be cut down the center of the rungs. Ladders must never be used as platforms, runways or scaffolds; OR placed on boxes, barrels or other unstable surfaces.

 

Portable Metal Ladders Self-Inspection Checklist 

If you answer “no” for any of the following items, correct this deficiency prior to using the ladder or do not use the ladder.

1. Are the rungs and steps of the ladder corrugated, knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material to minimize the possibility of slipping?  

2. Is the ladder well maintained – free of dents or bends, no dented rungs, hardware connections are solid; rivets not loose and rungs are solidly connected to side rails? 

3. Is the ladder free of any oil or grease? 

4. Are steps or rungs evenly spaced and not more than 12 inches apart? 

5. Is the width between the side rails at least 11 ˝ inches? 

6. Is the “single” metal ladder 30 feet or less long? 

7. Is the “two-section” metal ladder 48 feet or less in length? 

NOTE: Metal ladders are never to be used as a brace, skid, guy or gin pull, or gangway. Metal ladders should be prohibited for any use where it is possible to make contact with energized electrical conductors.

 

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