#249 Ladders

Ladders may be used to provide access when no other means of access is required in the Safety Orders. Falls are the most common cause of worker injury associated with ladder use and are primarily caused by (1) use of faulty ladders; (2) improper set-up of a ladder; or (3) the incorrect use of ladders. Safety Orders to control these hazards are listed below:


Ladder specifications are as follows:

  • Extension ladders shall not exceed 44 ft. in length. 1678(a)
  • Single-cleat ladders shall not exceed 30 ft. in length. 1629(c)
  • Double-cleat ladders shall not exceed 24 ft. in length. 1676(d)
  • Double-cleat ladders are required for 2-way traffic or when 25 or more employees are using a ladder. 1629(c)
  • An overlapping section should not be less than 10% of the working length of the ladder. 1678(b)


To safely use ladders, employees must follow the requirements noted below:

  • Face the ladder while climbing and descending. 3276(a)(2)
  • Do not stand on the top three rungs of ladders. 1675(k)
  • Remove damaged or defective ladders from use. 1675(b)
  • Do not place ladders where they can be accidentally struck or displaced. 1675(h)
  • Tie, block, or otherwise secure portable ladders in use. 1675(j)
  • Extend ladder side rails to at least 3 ft above the landing unless handholds are provided. 1629(c)(3), 1675(i)
  • Do not splice ladders together. 3278(e)(13)
  • Do not use metal ladders for electrical work or near live electrical parts. 3279(d)(11), 1675(l)
  • Mark portable metal ladders with the words: