Important Tips for Ladder Safety Month

Ladder Safety Tips

Did you know that more than 22,000 people across the U.S. are injured while using ladders each year? And, unfortunately, 161 people suffered a fatal injury from a ladder in 2020. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 65% of those ladder fatalities came from movable ladders.1

Falls make the top three list of most common disabling workplace injuries.2 While the number of ladder-related deaths has declined slightly in recent years, decreasing by 12% from 2016 to 2020,3 even a single injury or death from a ladder fall is one too many.

That’s why, since 2017, the U.S. has observed National Ladder Safety Month in March. Ladder Safety Month aims to raise awareness about the various components of ladder safety and outline best practices we all can use to decrease ladder injuries, falls and deaths.

Who is most at risk of ladder injury?

U.S. workers in several industries had the most reported workplace injuries from ladders in 20204 that required them to take days off work. These include:

  • Construction & Extraction (5,370 injuries)
  • Installation, Maintenance & Repair (5,790 injuries)
  • Transportation & Material Moving (1,670 injuries)
  • Farming, Fishing & Forestry (660 injuries)

These injuries come at a cost – not only for workers and their health but also for employers. A 2018 workplace safety survey in the U.S. found that $17+ billion is spent on falls that result from working at height.5

Helpful tips to stay safe when working on a ladder

While people might think they know how to climb and work on a ladder safely, they may not be in compliance with ladder safety guidance. In the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s fiscal year 2021 list of most frequently cited violations across industries, “Ladders, Construction” (29 CFR 1926.1053) came in at number three.6 For example, OSHA’s guidance mandates that fall protection be provided for workers climbing or working on fixed ladders higher than 24 feet.7

The following tips from OSHA and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) can help workers and employers lower their risk of ladder injuries and comply with safety guidelines.8

Before You Climb:

  • Read ladder labels.
  • Check the ladder’s feet and the surface where the ladder is placed. Only use a ladder on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured. Do not place a ladder on unstable bases to gain height.
  • Inspect the ladder:
  1. If you see damage, remove the ladder from service and tag it until it can be repaired or discarded.
  2. Ensure the appropriate accessories are there (such as ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) and use them only for their designed purposes.
  3. Check for slippery material on the rungs.
  4. Ensure all locks on an extension ladder are engaged properly.
  • Look at your surroundings: Make sure there are no overhead power lines nearby. If so, avoid using a metal ladder near them or any energized electrical equipment.
  • Footwear: Make sure your footwear is in good condition and free of mud, water, ice or grease. Wearing footwear with heels can help prevent your foot from slipping forward.9
  • Setting up:
  1. Positioning: Place the ladder base at the correct angle—a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall.
  2. When accessing an elevated surface using an extension or straight ladder, it must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support.
  3. Secure ladders that are placed in any location where they can be displaced by other work activities (or erect a barricade to keep traffic far enough away from the ladder).

While Climbing and Using the Ladder:

  • Check the weight: Do not exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating. Consider both the weight of the person it is supporting and the weight of any tools or equipment.
  • Maintain three points of contact on the ladder - Two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • Always face the ladder while climbing up or down.
  • Do not use the top rung as a step unless it was designed for that purpose. You have climbed too high if your knees are above the top of the ladder.
  • Do not move or shift a ladder while it is in use.
  • Never slide or jump down from a ladder.

Additional tips and ladder safety resources can be found at the National Ladder Safety Month 2023 website, including one-page flyers, videos and ladder safety training.

How Honeywell helps with ladder safety

Honeywell is committed to worker safety, and we provide a number of fall protection and footwear solutions to help workers on ladders remain safe. Contact us to learn more. 


1, 3, 4 - www.bls.gov

2 and 5 - www.laddersafetymonth.com

6 – www.osha.gov

7 - www.osha.gov

8 – https://www.oshaeducationcenter.com

9 - https://www.ccohs.ca