#87 Job Made Ladders

Courage Safety Systems does not recommend job-made ladders. The “grip” at the base and at the upper point of contact with a wall is usually inadequate from a safety point-of-view. Cal/OSHA does permit job-made ladders under certain conditions however:


Side rails, when made of wood, shall be the equivalent of dressed Douglas fir “selected lumber” and shall not have knots, except for an occasional one less than ½-inch in diameter that appears only on the wide face and is at least ½-inch back from either edge.


Rungs of wood shall be clear, straight-grained and absolutely free from knots of any size that appear in the narrow face. Knots appearing in the wide faces of cleats shall not exceed a diameter of ¼-inch. Rungs shall be uniformly spaced within ¼-inch tolerance, and not farther apart than 12 inches measured from tops of rungs. The clear space in the plane of the rungs between the top of any rung and an obstruction above shall be at least 4 ½ inches. The width of single cleat ladders shall be at least 15 inches, but not more than 20 inches, between rails at top.


Cleats shall be inset into the edges of the side rails one-half inch, or filler blocks shall be used on the rails between the cleats. The cleats shall be secured to each rail with three 10d common wire nails or other fasteners of equivalent strength. Cleats shall be uniformly spaced, 12 inches top-to-top. Double-head nails shall not be used for ladder construction.


Every portable ladder shall be of such material, size, and construction that it will safely carry the load to be placed thereon. Ladders which are customarily used for special purposes, such as those used for access to and additional support for overhead platforms, ladder bracket, and ladder scaffolding, shall be of such design, material, and construction that they will support all normal loads which may be imposed upon them.