Provided by the North Central ESD Workers Compensation Trust

Fatal Falls on the Rise

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal falls to a lower level increased by nine percent (9%) in 2014 as compared to the previous year while falls on the same level increased seventeen percent (17%).

Avoid Free Fallin'...

Practice Ladder Safety ONE STEP at a Time!


Select the right ladder for the job –consider:

  • How high you need to reach?
  • How much weight the ladder will need to support? Don't forget to include the workers, and their tools/equipment.
  • Will you be working on or near electricity? If so, choose a fiberglass ladder.

Inspect the ladder before using it – look for:

  • Cracked, split, worn, broken, twisted/distorted rails, braces, steps, rungs, & feet
  • Corrosion, rust, oxidization and excessive wear, especially on treads
  • Missing identification labels
  • Loose or faulty spreaders, locks, and other metal parts (step ladders)
  • Rot, decay or warped rails (wooden ladders)
  • Cracks and exposed fiberglass (fiberglass ladders)
  • Loose, broken, deteriorated or missing extension locks, chains or ropes (extension ladders).

Properly position and set the ladder–

  • Make sure the base of the ladder is on a firm, solid and level surface.
  • Position straight or extension ladders using a 1:4 vertical/horizontal ratio – set the base of the ladder 1 foot away from the top support for every 4 feet of ladder height.
  • Fully open the ladder and lock the spreaders on step ladders.


Make sure your shoes are clean - free of mud, grease, or other substances.

Face the ladder & use both hands while climbing up or down a ladder.

Maintain 3 points of contact while climbing – keep 2-hands & 1-foot or 2-feet & 1-hand in contact with the ladder at all times.

Never carry tools/materials in your hands while climbing/descending a ladder - use a tool belt, hand line or other means to raise/ lower items as needed.


Remove and tag defective ladders from service - to protect and warn others.

Never stand on the top step of a step ladder or top 3 rungs of a straight, single, or extension ladder.

Stay centered between the rails - don’t lean too far or overreach. Re-position the ladder if needed.

Never attempt to adjust or move a ladder while standing on it – climb down & re-position the ladder as needed


It is NEVER safe to climb up on a chair, table, desk or other object in place of a ladder!

North Central ESD Workers' Compensation Trust

Providing Risk Management Services to Reduce On-The-Job Injuries