Ladders are involved in many fall incidents; however, these falls can be prevented. Consider using a toolbox talk to train everyone to use ladders safely.

In your toolbox talk, start by giving examples of the type of accidents that can happen when workers don’t follow fall prevention guidelines. Throughout your toolbox talk, you should have plenty of opportunities to discuss how these injuries can be prevented.

Discuss what to look for when doing a ladder inspection.

  • Loose or missing rungs
  • Wood splinters or damaged edges
  • Cracked, broken, split or badly worn rungs or side rails
  • Corrosion of metal ladders or metal parts

When a ladder is found to be in disrepair, it needs to be taken out of service and off the jobsite until it is repaired.

Discuss the right way to use ladders on the jobsite.

  • Straight ladders should be long enough so the side rails extend above the top support point by at least 36 inches.
  • Don’t try to increase the height of a ladder by standing it on another item such as a box, or barrel.
  • Set the ladder on solid footing against a solid support.
  • Place the base of straight ladders out away from the wall or edge of the upper level about 1 foot for every 4 feet of vertical height.

Discuss fall prevention measures.

  • Don’t set up ladders in areas such as doorways or walkways unless protected by barriers. You don’t want others to run into them.
  • Keep the area around the top and base of the ladder clear – no hoses, extension cords or ropes to create any obstructions.
  • Never use ladders as a platform, runway, or scaffold.
  • Check your shoes for oil, grease, or mud before climbing a ladder. This can make it easy to slip.
  • Always face the ladder and hold on with both hands when climbing up or down. Never try to carry tools or materials with you.
  • Don’t overreach or lean out to the side when you’re on a ladder.
  • Don’t stand on the top or on the top step of a stepladder.

Toolbox Talk: Ladder Safety Discussion

These are more questions to get workers engaged in your toolbox talk.

  • How do we use ladders on our jobsite? How do you need to use them safely?
  • How often should a ladder be inspected? What do you do when you find one in need of repair?
  • What is the correct way to set up a ladder?
  • How should ladders be stored and cared for?

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