Falls from ladders are a leading cause of fatal injuries in general industry and construction. OSHA prioritizes these preventable incidents during enforcement, leading to ladder safety violations consistently landing on their top ten citations each year. 

Factors that contribute to falls from ladders include:

  • Worker inexperience or lack of training
  • Improper ladder selection
  • Improper use of a ladder
  • Ladder overlading
  • Lader not being set up on a flat, level surface or at a proper angle
  • Not extending ladder above access point
  • Lack of safe access

OSHA 1926.1053 requirements apply to all ladder types including self-supporting portable, not self-supporting portable, fixed, and job-made. 

  • Specifies load sizes that each ladder type must be capable of supporting without failure. 
  • Designates spacing for rungs, cleats, and steps which must be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use
  • Requires that ladder rungs are manufactured in a shape such that employees' feet cannot slide off the end of rungs and treated with skid-resistant material.
  • Prohibits ladders from being tied or fastened together to provide longer sections unless they are specifically designed for such use
  • Requires that ladder components are surfaced so as to prevent injury to a worker from punctures or lacerations and to prevent snagging of clothing
  • Requires that when two or more separate ladders are used to reach an elevated work area that the ladders must be offset with a platform or landing between them. 

In 2016, OSHA established a new rule regarding ladder safety requirements to protect workers from falling off of fixed and portable ladders as well as mobile ladder stands and platforms through OSHA 3903 Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Final Rule.