Falls from Ladders and What to Do About Them

By  //  May 16, 2023

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Working at any height is dangerous, and demands plenty of caution from the worker and the employers. To work at such elevations, ladders are a common tool used.

They can be used to either get up to the platforms of the place to work or as platforms themselves.

In this content piece, we will take a look at the risks of ladders and their safety precautions to make sure that all the necessary safety steps are followed. 

Ladders and their Risks

Using ladders to work at heights can be dangerous and poses several risks. Some of the risks include:

  • Falls from heights
  • Overreaching when working on a ladder
  • Incorrect setup and its resulting consequences
  • Overhead electrical hazards
  • Falling when carrying materials

These risks need proper risk controls to be mitigated effectively. However, for more general use cases, a few safety precautions are put in place. 

Practicing Safety in Ladder Use

Ladders are essential tools for construction workers, but they can also be a significant source of danger if not used correctly, as highlighted above. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls from ladders account for a significant number of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry. It is important to follow proper safety rules when using ladders in places such as a construction site, for example.

Here are some of the safety precautions that every worker should know when using ladders.

  • Inspect the Ladder Before Use

Before using a ladder, inspect it thoroughly to ensure that it is in good condition. Check the rungs, rails, feet, and locking mechanisms to ensure that they are not damaged, bent, or loose. If any defects or damages are noticed, do not use the ladder and report it to the supervisor immediately.

Inspecting your ladder properly can be a hard task. As there are many small factors that a person can forget in a hurry. Therefore, try taking on ladder safety training course which would educate you on how you can properly inspect your ladder and ensure your safety before carrying out a task. Although such training courses are highly recommended if working with ladder is your every job. In such a situation you are legally required to take effective measures to ensure your safety and well-being.

  • Select the Right Ladder for the Job

Ladders come in different sizes and types, and it is important to select the right ladder for the job. Using the wrong ladder can increase the risk of accidents and injuries. Make sure that the ladder is tall enough to reach the desired height and has the weight capacity to support your weight and any tools or materials you will be carrying.

  • Set up the Ladder Correctly

When setting up the ladder, make sure it is placed on a stable surface and the base is level. Use a ladder leveler or a wedge to prevent the ladder from tipping. Do not place the ladder on an uneven surface, on top of boxes or other unstable objects, or near doors that may open and hit the ladder. Also, make sure that the ladder is not placed near electrical wires or other hazards.

  • Climb the Ladder Safely

When climbing the ladder, use three points of contact at all times. This means that two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot should be on the ladder rungs at all times. Face the ladder when climbing up or down, and do not lean or overreach while on the ladder. Do not carry heavy or bulky items while on the ladder. Use a tool belt or rope to hoist tools and materials up and down the ladder.

  • Use the Ladder for its Intended Purpose

Ladders are designed for specific purposes, and it is important to use the ladder for its intended purpose. For example, do not use a step ladder as an extension ladder or a straight ladder as a scaffold. Using a ladder for a purpose other than its intended use can increase the risk of accidents and injuries.

  • Store the Ladder Properly

After using the ladder, store it properly in a designated location. Do not leave the ladder leaning against a wall or lying on the ground where it can be a tripping hazard. Make sure that the ladder is stored in a dry and safe location, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

  • Ensure you Have Adequate Training

Anyone operating at such heights needs to have the proper working-at-height training, as well as ladder safety training provided to them beforehand. Moreover, these training courses are best if provided both online and hands-on to allow for the maximum benefit of both practical and vocal training sessions for the workers.

These cover just a handful of the general safety precautions that anyone operating a ladder should know about. Working at height should not be taken lightly, and safety should always be upheld as the number one priority.


Using ladders in a construction site requires following proper safety rules. By inspecting the ladder before use, selecting the right ladder for the job, setting up the ladder correctly, climbing the ladder safely, using the ladder for its intended purpose, and storing the ladder properly, workers can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

It is important to follow these rules and encourage other workers to do the same to ensure a safe working environment.