Ladder Safety: In Depth

All types of ladders are covered by this policy including stepladders, fixed ladders and job-made ladders. “Stepladders” include industrial stepladders (3 to 20 feet for heavy duty use), commercial stepladders (3 to 12 feet for medium duty such as painting) and household stepladders (3 to 6 feet for light duty). “Fixed ladders” are ladders that are permanently placed in a specific location and not portable. “Job-made ladders” are ladders that have been constructed for temporary use during a construction or renovation project.

The majority of ladders are used by the trades groups (electrical, HVAC, carpentry and plumbing) and custodial workers. Facilities Management and Planning (BU) and Facilities and Energy Management (BMC) have overall responsibility for the proper use of ladders by their employees and contractors. Other departments or schools are responsible for the inspection and proper use of ladders under their control.

Ladder Safety Rules

The University’s Ladder Safety Rules are based upon OSHA’s requirements for safe ladder use and includes information on:

  • ladder selection
  • ladder setup and placement
  • ladder inspection before use
  • climbing and standing techniques
  • overall proper use of ladders
  • proper care and storage

The University’s Ladder Safety Rules are widely distributed. If job-made ladders are used, the applicable OSHA standard must be followed.

EHS will periodically conduct training and awareness in the safe use of ladders. The training and awareness will include a review of Ladder Safety Rules and a description of the inspection and corrective action program. Ladder safety information such as posters, videos and brochures will also be made available to the University and hospital communities.