What are OSHA’s ladder safety rules?

Like many people in Pennsylvania, the regular use of a ladder may be part of your normal experiences at your job. Even if you use ladders every day and are very comfortable doing so, you must be very aware of what federal safety laws are in place regarding ladder use. These are important for your own safety as well as the safety of your co-workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has created clear guidelines for the use of ladders on job worksites. These are broken out in part due to the weight loads to be held and supported by ladders. General ladder configurations have also been used in determining safety protocol. Following are some of the requirements for ladder use in the workplace:

  • Rungs on ladders must be no less than 10 and no more than 14 inches apart.
  • Rungs on fixed ladders must be able to support 250 pounds at the rung’s center.
  • Two individual loads of 250 pounds should be able to be supported by a fixed ladder.
  • Most non-fixed ladders must be capable of supporting four times what the stated maximum load is.
  • Type A non-fixed ladders which are plastic or metal should be able to hold a load 3.3 times the maximum.

Extension trestle ladder base rungs should be spaced at least eight inches apart up to a maximum of 18 inches apart. Extension rungs should be spaced at least six inches apart up to a maximum of one feet apart.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but general information about ladder safety for employees in Pennsylvania.