Safety: Ladders & Stairways

There are some hazards on the job site that seem obvious and some that need a little more attention from workers.

While the importance of ladder safety is communicated heavily at job sites, there are some workers and managers who unknowingly neglect to speak about the dangers of stairways.

According to OSHA, there are more than 24,000 injuries and as many as 36 fatalities per year due to falls on stairways and ladders used in construction.

The good news is that many of the accidents around ladders and stairways are preventable when the proper measures are taken prior to starting a job.

With Ladders

  • Use the correct ladder for the task
  • Never load ladders beyond the manufacturer’s rated capacity
  • Ensure that metal ladders are kept way from electrical work and overhead power lines
  • Have a worker partner inspect for any defects
  • Look for structural damage, grease or other slippery contaminant

With Stairways

  • Stairways must be free of dangerous objects, debris and materials
  • Cover stairs with threads to avoid a slippery surface
  • Stairways with four or more risers or that rise more than 30 inches need to have a least one handrail
  • Stair handrails must be free of hazards like splinters and nails