Falls: Extension Ladders

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

This toolbox talk was created by NIOSH and CPWR and covers the dangers of falling from extension ladders. The design allows workers to view a graphic while the facilitator presents the information. After the talk, the sheet can be posted on the jobsite with the graphic side out to reinforce the key points.
2013

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoEach year, about 50 construction workers are killed by falls from ladders. The main cause is falling from an extension ladder. The falls are frequently caused by either the slippage or movement of the supports or by workers losing their balance.

 

Here is an Example

Raul was descending a 24-foot extension ladder from an overhead area when the ladder slipped causing a fall of approximately 12 feet to the concrete surface. Raul suffered head injuries, broke his hand, and was taken to a hospital.

  1. Do you use extension ladders?
  2. Have you ever fallen or do you know anyone who has fallen from an extension ladder? If so, what happened?
  3. Do you know that NIOSH has a free smart phone app for checking that a ladder is at the right angle?

Prevent Falls from Extension Ladders

  • Use a ladder in the manner that it is supposed to be used.
  • Set your ladder at the correct 4 to 1 angle. For every four rungs, place the ladder back a foot. As a check, with your feet on the feet of the ladder and your arms extended straight forward, you should just be touching a rung of the ladder.
  • Screw a 2x4 cleat to the ground behind the ladder’s feet to prevent the ladder from slipping backward.
  • Tie off the top of the ladder to prevent it from slipping sideways.
  • Extend the ladder three feet above the landing.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent falls from extension ladders?

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OSHA REGULATIONS: 1926.1053

Graphic of a worker standing on an extension ladder leaning against a house.  The images illustrates the correct 4 to 1 angle, the tie off, and the 3 foot extension above the landing.

  • Set your ladder at the correct 4 to 1 angle.
  • Tie off the top of the ladder to prevent it from slipping sideways.
  • Extend the ladder three feet above the landing.