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Stairways and Ladders

This course will cover basic elements of
stairway and ladder safety in construction.
The training session should take about 35
minutes to complete.
Click on the forward arrow to begin your
Upon completion, you should be familiar
Stairway and ladder protection
Relevant OSHA standards
Why standards exist
What is covered
Introduction New
Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this training session, the
student will be able to:
1: Identify major stairway & ladder hazards
2: Describe types of stairway & ladder hazards
3: Protect him/herself from stairway & ladder hazards
4: Recognize employer requirements to protect workers
from stairway & ladder hazards
TIP: Disclaimer: This Compliance Assistance product is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. The
Compliance Assistance product is advisory in nature, informational in content, and is intended to assist employers in providing a
safe and healthful workplace. Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must comply with safety and health
standards promulgated by OSHA or by a State with an OSHA-approved State Plan. In addition, pursuant to Section 5(a)(1), the
General Duty Clause of the Act, employers must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to
cause death or serious physical harm. Employers can be cited for violating the General Duty Clause if there is a recognized
hazard and they do not take reasonable steps to prevent or to abate the hazard. However, failure to implement these
recommendations is not, in itself, a violation of the General Duty Clause. Citations can only be based on standards, regulations,
and the General Duty Clause.
Course Overview
Objective: Program requirements for
stairways and ladders
Audience: Workers, supervisors, managers
OSHA references:
1926.1050-1060, Subpart X (construction)
1910.27 (general industry)
Course Agenda
This course will focus on:
Terms and definitions
Temporary stairs
Ladder types
Safe use
Straight, step, and fixed ladders
Get Site-Specific training!
This training course:
Provides basic information
Is NOT a substitute for:
Provisions of OSHA act
OSHA standards
Specific, hands-on training
Ladder Accidents
Falls from ladders are a leading cause of
work place fatalities and injuries
From 1984 to 1997, approximately:
3,000 fatalities
65,000 disabling injuries
OSHA Citations: Stairways & Ladders
One recent year, OSHA cited these
No handrail 598
Ladder not 3 feet beyond landing 488
No stairway or ladder provided 253
Damaged ladder 137
Stairway & Ladder Definitions
Crosspieces between vertical side rails
Standard ladder configuration of cleats, rails
Definitions (2)
Double-cleated ladder:
2 vertical side rails, 1 center rail
Allows 2-way traffic
Extended trestle (extension ladder):
Self-supporting portable ladder
Adjustable length / height
Definitions (3)
Job-made ladders:
Fabricated onsite (not commercially)
Strict standards (ANSI A.14.4-1979)
Portable Ladders:
Readily moved
Definitions (4)
Maximum intended load:
Greatest weight ladder can safely support
Factor all people, equipment, materials, etc.
Definitions (5)
Permanent structure; not readily moved
Stair rail system:
Vertical barrier for fall protection
Typically 36 inches above tread
Tread depth:
Front-to-back measurement of tread

Safety tip: The tread is the top horizontal surface of a step.

Definitions (6)
Unprotected sides and edges:
No stair rail system or wall 36 high
Side of edge of stairway landing, ladder
platform without wall / guardrail 39 high;
Except entrances at point of access
Definitions (7)
Metal pan stairs and landings:
Stair forms to later be filled with concrete
Tripping hazard
Which of the following are true about
unprotected sides and edges?
Unprotected sides and edges are areas where
there is no stair rail system or wall 36 inches or
more in height.
Unprotected sides and edges are any side of the
edge of a stairway landing or ladder platform
where there is no wall or guardrail system 39
inches or more in height.
An exception to this last requirement is any
entrance at point of access.
Temporary Stairs
Tripping Hazards
To prevent tripping hazards:
Pan stairs required to be filled
Treads non-slip material / coating
Sweep stairs, keep clear
Temporary Stairs
Basic Requirements
For elevation break 19 inches:
Stairs, ladder, or ramp
When 4 risers: handrails
Stairways not permanent part of building /
where construction work being performed:
Landing 30 inches in direction of travel
22 inches wide
Landing 12 feet of every vertical rise
Temporary Stairs
Basic Requirements (2)
Temporary stairs:
Between 30 and 50
Riser height, tread depth = uniform
Variations not to exceed inch
Temporary Stairs
Basic Requirements (3)
Good housekeeping:
Slippery conditions corrected immediately
Electrical cords not strung across stairs
Materials, tools not be left on stairs / landings
Stairway free of projectiles, sharp edges, nails
Temporary Stairs
Basic Requirements (4)
Adequate lighting = critical:
5-foot candles illumination (minimum)
Door directly onto stairway requires platform
Clearance for access / egress 20 inches

Safety Tip: A foot candle is a unit of illumination, equal to one lumen per square foot
(10.764 lux), or the amount of light from a source of one candela directly thrown on a
square foot of surface at a distance of one foot. As an example, a 100 watt
incandescent bulb produces about 137 foot-candles.
Temporary Stairs
Spiral Stairways
Should be part of permanent structure
Handrail to prevent walking where tread < 6

Safety Tip: See OSHA standards 1926(a)(1) and 1926.1052[c](2) for further reference.
Temporary Stairs
Stairway Handrails
Handrail, stair rail system all unprotected
Stairway with 4 risers / 30 inches
Whichever = less
Handrail height = 30 to 37 inches (tread to
Temporary Stairs
Stairway Handrails (2)
Installation of midrails:
Midway between tread / handrail
May need mesh (if materials can be dropped)
Must withstand 200 lbs. of force
Toeboards around floor openings, stairwells
Types Of Ladders
Types of Ladders
Four ladder types:
Safety Tip: In most cases, fixed ladders are a permanent part of a structure
and are not portable. Fixed ladders with a vertical climb of 24 feet or greater
must be equipped with a cage, self-retracting life line, rest platform, or other
safety features.
Types of Ladders
Which of the following types of ladders are
most commonly used in the construction
Straight ladder
Extension ladder
Step ladder
Fixed ladder
Types Of Ladders
Ladder Materials
Common ladder materials:
Different limitations, advantages,
Choose based on job, conditions, hazards
Safety Tip: Never use an aluminum ladder where electrical wires or equipment or
tools are present.
Types Of Ladders
Duty Rating
Ensure ladder has sufficient load capacity
Calculate total weight of load:
Tools / equipment
Check rated load capacity (label)
Types of Ladders
Duty Rating (2)
Ladders manufactured with 5
Type IAA: heavy duty, industrial, 375 lbs. limit
Type IA: heavy duty, industrial, 300 lbs. limit
Type I: heavy duty, 250 lbs. limit
Type II: medium duty, 225 lbs. limit
Type III: light duty, 200 lbs. weight limit
Safety Tip: Type III ladders are commonly called a household ladders. These
should not be used on a construction site.
Using Ladders Safely
Using Ladders Safely
If possible, dont use ladder at all
Eliminate exposure / risk:
Contact with overhead utilities
Back, muscle strain

Safety Tip: With any activity, if you can eliminate the exposure to injury by
finding another method or piece of equipment, this should be your first
Using Ladders Safely
Protect Yourself from Injury
When you have to use a ladder:
Work boots or shoes with heel, non-slip soles
Footwear = clean before climbing
Gloves = recommended
Be aware of jewelry that might catch
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules
1. Inspect the ladder.
Check for damage, defects
Do NOT use damaged ladder
Remove from work area
Is it free of oil, grease, other slipping hazards?
Are warning stickers clearly affixed?
Safety Tip: Remember, most ladders are built with one purpose in mind
climbing. Using a ladder for any other purpose can cause damage or weaken
it, which may cause serious accidents and injuries.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (2)
2. Inspect the location.
Free of debris, liquids?
Overhead utilities, obstructions?
Equipment, traffic, tripping hazards?

Safety Tip: Use a large solid board to level the surface and to keep the ladder from
sinking into soft ground.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (3)
3. Select the right ladder for the job:
long/tall enough, non-conductive?

Safety Tip: Use a grab device when 3 foot extension is not possible.

Case Study: Fatality. An employee was installing gutters using an aluminum

ladder. As he was setting up the ladder, he accidentally touched a power line
with the aluminum ladder and was electrocuted upon contact with the un-
insulated line. Thats why non-conductive ladders are preferred.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (4)
4. Position the ladder correctly.
4-to-1 rule for straight and extension ladders
Four feet up and one foot out. A ladder
contacting a wall 16 feet high should have its
base 4 feet out from the wall.
Safety Tip: Do not use a ladder as a make-shift scaffold or a ramp.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (5)
5. Face the ladder and use both hands
when ascending and descending.
Use 3 point rule. Two hands and one foot or
two feet and one hand.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (6)
6. Secure the ladder to a rigid support.
When securing a ladder, tie the ladder off
as close to the upper support point as
possible. This will maximize the stability.
Case Study: An employee was climbing a 10 foot ladder to access a landing
which was 9 feet above the adjacent floor. The ladder slid down, and the
employee fell to the floor, sustaining fatal injuries. Although the ladder had slip-
resistant feet, it was not secured, and the railings did not extend 3 feet above
the landing.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (7)
7. Do not carry materials or tools while
ascending and descending the ladders.

Safety Tip: Use a tool belt or pouch or utilize a lift line to raise materials or
tools to your work location.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (8)
8. Do not extend your body beyond the

Safety Tip: If your belly button is outside the ladder rails you are in danger.
Stay within the rails. If necessary, get off the ladder and move it.
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (9)
9. Never use a stepladder as a straight
ladder or stand on the top 2 steps of a step
Using Ladders Safely
Top Ten Rules (10)
10. When setting up a step ladder, all 4
On firm surface
Using Ladders Safely
Ladder Inspection
Ladders must be inspected:
On a periodic basis
After any occurrence
By a competent person
Prior to use

Safety Tip: The type of materials the ladder is made from will partly
determine the conditions you may find during your inspection.
Using Ladders Safely
Ladder Inspection (2)
Wood ladders:
Inspect for rot, cracked, split, loose
Should never be painted (can hide damage)
Metal ladders:
Inspect for corrosion
Never use around electrical work
Any defective ladders: remove from service!
Using Ladders Safely
Ladder Inspection (3)
Fiberglass ladders:
Inspect for damage by heat, corrosives
Check rung locks
Check label (correct ladder for job?)
If damaged:
Tag do not use
Remove from service

Safety Tip: Only manufactured-approved materials may be used to repair a

commercial ladder.
Using Ladders Safely
Ladders must be inspected:
On a periodic basis
After any occurrence
By a competent person
Prior to use
Straight and Stepladders
Straight Ladders: Requirements
Maximum intended load:
Included on manufacturers label
Ladder should support 4 times as much;
However, do NOT exceed!
Rungs, cleats, steps:
Uniform spacing, 10 to 14 inches
Situational Analysis
You are part of a four-person roofing crew that
plans to use a 40-foot ladder to access your work
area. You check the maximum intended load on the
manufacturers label of the ladder in your truck.
You determine the maximum load weight is just
greater than the weight of the heaviest member of
your crew. How do you proceed?
Consider getting a ladder with a maximum intended
load that is a bit greater. This is likely the best course
of action. Because you need to factor all people,
equipment, and materials that the ladder will need to
support at one time, it still may be inadequate for this
job. For instance, if that crew member is wearing PPE,
he may suddenly be too heavy.
Straight and Stepladders
Using Straight Ladders
Maximum length:
Single section = 30 feet
Double section = 48 feet
Triple section = 60 feet
Overlap of sections = minimum 3 to 5 feet
Do NOT use top section by itself
Straight and Stepladders
Common Types of Stepladders
Three types of stepladders, rated by height:
Type I: construction
3 to 20 feet, heavy duty, industrial use
Type II: commercial
3 to 12 feet, medium duty, office use
Type III: household
3 to 6 feet, light duty, not for construction
Straight and Stepladders
Using Stepladders
See ANSI A14.1, 14.3, 14.5
Rungs, cleats, steps:
Skid resistant
Spaced 8 to 12 inches, uniformly
Spreader/locking device is required
Straight and Stepladders
Using Stepladders (2)
Top 2 steps NOT to be stood / sat on:
Ensure ladder = tall enough for job

Safety tip: In California the top 3 steps of a stepladder cannot be used unless a
handhold is available or fall protection is used
Straight and Stepladders
Using Stepladders (3)
Stepladders used only:
Fully open position
Level ground
NOT as straight ladder
Has permanently affixed label:
Safety practices

Safety Tip: As with all ladders, the stepladder should be inspected

periodically by a competent person and by the employee prior to use.
Situational Analysis
You are a dry wall finisher working on a 15-foot
mobile scaffold with rubber tires and locking
casters. To reach higher, you bring a wooden
stepladder atop the platform and lean it against the
wall. You know the ladder will exert force on the
scaffold when you begin to climb; what steps can
help ensure its safe to proceed?
This is not a safe scenario under any circumstances.
This is the best answer because a step ladder should
never be used as a straight ladder regardless of the
safety measures in place.
Fixed Ladders
Fixed Ladders
Fixed ladders:
Often permanent part of structure
Not portable
Provide access to roofs, tanks, etc.
Fixed Ladders
Fixed Ladders Requirements
Standards for fixed ladders:
ANSI A14.3, OSHA regulations
Distance between rungs 12 inches, uniform
Metal ladders = painted / treated to resist
corrosion, rusting
Fixed Ladders
Clearances for Fixed Ladders
ANSI standards for clearances:
Climbing side 30 inches from other objects
Some exceptions reduce to 24 inches
7 inches from back side to any other object
Fixed Ladders
Clearances for Fixed Ladders (2)
For vertical climb < 24 but top > 24 feet up,
fixed ladders shall have landing platform
every 20 feet or one of the following:
Ladder safety devices
Selfretracting life lines
Fixed Ladders
Fixed Ladders
When length of > 24 feet:
Ladders must have cage or well, multiple
sections, each section 50 feet
Sections offset from adjacent sections, landing
platforms at intervals 50 feet
Fixed Ladders
Fixed Ladders: More Requirements
Fixed ladders without cages / wells shall
Clear width to the nearest permanent object of
at least 15 inches on each side of the
centerline of the ladder
Fixed Ladders
Towers, Water Tanks, & Chimneys
Ladder safety devices:
Tower, water, tank, chimney ladders > 20 feet
No landing platform required
Fixed Ladders
Which of the following are common safety
devices for fixed ladders?
Selfretracting life lines
Landing platforms
Final Considerations
This course covered OSHA standards
Temporary stairs
Types of ladders (straight, step, fixed)
Rules for safe use
Key terminology
It is up to you to apply this knowledge!