Are Ladder Inspections Required By OSHA?

required osha ladder inspections workplace safety

When it comes to using any type of ladder, including but not limited to a roof access ladder on the job, OSHA has some pretty strict guidelines, and for good reason. There have been quite a few inspections through which inspectors have found that ladders were not being used properly by workers. 

Most of what needs to be said about ladder inspections and what is expected can be found in OSHA regulations. The following is a breakdown of what you need to know about ladder inspections, including some safety tips for using a ladder at work. 

Greatest Number Of Citations Given Are For Portable Ladders 

Studies have shown that the greatest number of citations given by OSHA inspectors were for portable ladders, with the most citations falling in the categories of workers not using ladders properly or the condition the ladders were in when inspected. 

Most Common Safety Issues By Users Of Ladders 

A worker using a ladder in an improper manner is one of the safety violations that an inspector will give out. The most common offenses include:

• Using a ladder that is taped to another ladder 
• A worker who is straddling two straight ladders to do a job 
• Someone standing on top of a step ladder to do a job 
• Someone propping a step ladder against a wall and using it as a ladder 

All of these issues will get the company a citation that can be expensive and get them in a ton of trouble. 

Safety Tips For Ladder Use At Work 

The following are some safety tips for using ladders at work. If your company doesn't want to be on the receiving end of a citation from OSHA for your ladder use, you need to stress proper usage to your employees. 

When it comes to using a ladder safely at work, it doesn't take a whole lot, but it does take a bit of common sense. Below, you can find some tips on how to use a ladder at work safely every time. 

Choose the correct ladder for the job The first and probably the simplest tip is for workers to choose the right ladder for the job they are performing. They need to think about how high they will be and choose a ladder from the variety your company has available, that will easily reach that height. One quick note, the ladder should always reach past the maximum height you are trying to reach, for safety's sake. 

Inspect The Ladder For Any Signs Of Damage 

While your company should not have ladders on the job that have signs of damage, it does happen. The worker who is using the ladder should inspect it entirely for signs of damage before climbing it. Signs of damage that should be inspected for include: 

• Burrs, rust corrosion, cracks, and breaks 
• All connections should be secure 
• Grease, oils, or anything slippery on the rungs of the ladder 
• Non-skid grips should be intact 
• And anything that could cause the ladder to malfunction or tip over easily. 

If any of the above or other damage is found when inspecting the ladder, that ladder should be taken out of commission and the proper supervisor should be notified. 

These are just a few of the safety tips and OSHA requirements you should know about ladders. If you feel that you have any ladders on your job or violations that could get you a citation during an OSHA inspection of your ladders, you should remedy them as soon as possible.

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