#88 Ladder Angles

Ladders can be very dangerous to use, especially job-made ladders. Courage Safety Systems, LLC., 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 (see Tailgate Talk #87).


Even properly manufactured, ladders with grips at the feet can be very dangerous to use. According to Cal/OSHA, “portable ladders shall be used at such a pitch that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is about one-quarter of the working length of the ladder (the length along the ladder between the foot and top support). Ladders shall not be used in a horizontal position as platforms, runways, or scaffolds. Portable ladders in use shall be tied, blocked, or otherwise secured to prevent their being displaced.”


Fed/OSHA further specifies, in Subpart X §1926.1053 (b)(7), “Ladders shall not be used on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental displacement. Slip-resistant feet shall not be used as a substitute for care in placing, lashing, or holding a ladder that is used upon a slippery surface, including, but not limited to, flat metal or concrete surfaces that are constructed so they cannot be prevented from becoming slippery.”