All occupational health and safety inspectors should be familiar with the precise criteria for portable ladders that can be found in OSHA standard 1926 Subpart X. In addition, employees who use portable ladders must undergo training on how to do so safely. These programs must include both theoretical and practical instruction, and they must be tailored to the particular type of ladders that will be put to use. It’s true that you can buy many different types of ladders, the most popular of which are extension ladders, step ladders, folding ladders, and platform ladders.

Important criteria of the OSHA standard apply to the precise location of ladders to prevent them from slipping or falling, with the goal of preventing employees from falling from the high positions that can be attained during their duties. When this is not possible, a rigid support and grab mechanism must be employed instead. The side rails must extend at least 3 feet above the landing.

Steps, side rails, rungs, locking components, and everything else on a ladder should be checked before every usage. It is against the law for workers to put more pressure on a ladder than it is rated to handle (the standard specifies that portable ladders must be designed to support at least four times the maximum intended load, with the exception of the extra-heavy-duty ladders made of metal or plastic that must sustain 3.3 times that maximum load). Having a ladder lean against a wall at an angle that makes the working length of the ladder about four times the horizontal distance between the foot of the ladder and the wall is a crucial part of proper ladder placement. Rungs must be skid-resistant and formed in such a way that a worker’s foot cannot slide off, and their spacing must be specified (being wider at the base than the extension portion) (of course ladders must be kept free of slipping hazards such as grease, oil, etc.). In order to protect workers from injury, the area around the ladder’s top and bottom should be kept clear at all times.

In order to get to a high spot, special equipment is required. Ladders can’t be nailed together to make longer ones, and if more than one ladder is used to go up there, they need to be staggered with a platform or landing in between. Workers should never climb a ladder if they don’t need to, and should only utilize it for that purpose.

As part of the OSHA regulation, employers are required to conduct training courses for all employees who will be utilizing ladders. The program’s goal is to equip workers with the knowledge they need to identify and avoid ladder-related risks. Employees will learn about the different types of fall hazards, how to use fall protection systems, how to construct, install, and handle ladders safely, and how much weight each type of ladder is designed to support.