Risk Management reminds of ladder safety

Training is required for all TWU employees and volunteers who use stepladders, extension ladders, or fixed ladders. Training can be found on TWU’s Bridge employee learning system.

Ladders, including step stools, are used all over campus. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500,000 people per year are treated, and more than 300 people die, from ladder-related injuries. Following good safety practices can substantially decrease your chances of injury from ladders. 

One of the best ways to reduce risk when using a ladder for a task is to choose the right type of ladder for the job. 

  • Check that the ladder can hold at least four times the intended weight load. Don’t forget to factor the weight of tools, materials, etc. that will travel on the ladder with the user. The loading label can be found on the side of the ladder. Do not use a ladder that is missing this label.
  • Metal ladders should not be used to conduct electrical work. Instead, use ladders made with non-conductive material (e.g., fiberglass) if there is any potential for contact with electricity.
  • Ensure the ladder is tall enough for the job.
  • Working from a properly constructed scaffold or a lift is generally safer than working from a ladder. However, specialized training is required for those who work or build scaffolds, use lifts or use fall protection equipment.

Safe Climbing Procedures:

  • Do not use ladders that are wet or have oils, grease, wet paint or other slipping hazards.
  • Never position a ladder in front of a doorway opening towards the ladder.
  • Do not use the top of the ladder as a step.
  • Place ladders on stable and level surfaces that are not slippery to prevent injury.
  • Always remain centered on the ladder. Do not reach to the sides. Your belly button should never extend beyond either side rail.
  • Always face the ladder. Do not climb down or up a ladder while facing away from the ladder. 
  • Keep in mind the “three points of contact”: always maintain contact with one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot, while climbing or descending the ladder.  
  • Do not carry objects or loads that could cause loss of balance and/or falling.

For more information on TWU’s ladder safety program, visit the Ladder Safety website.