Ladder Safety 

Despite the relative simplicity of ladders, ladder safety is a complex issue.
In Canada, falls injure more than 40,000 workers annually. Many of these falls occur because ladders are in poor condition or used improperly.


Since 2011, 60% of falls are from elevations of 10 feet or less; 25% of fall fatalities are from elevations of 10 feet or less.  These are staggering numbers! 
Most individuals think the risk is minimal at lower elevations, however the risk is much higher!  Individuals become too comfortable or complacent and injuries/fatalities are the result.

Common Causes of Ladder Accidents
  • Over-reaching from ladders, rather than moving them.
  • Standing ladders on boxes, etc., to gain additional height.
  • Too much haste in climbing or descending.
  • Climbing one-handed while carrying something in the other hand.
  • Standing at the very top of a short ladder, rather than getting one long enough for the job.
  • Hanging tools to a fellow worker on a ladder.
  • Placing the ladder at an improper angle.
  • Using metal ladders in locations where contact with electric wires is possible.
  • Failure to secure the ladder in place.
  • More than one person ascending/descending a ladder, at a time.


  • Never use a metal ladder where contact with electrical wires is possible.
  • Never climb on a ladder's bracing.
  • The spreaders of a ladder must always be locked fully open.
  • "When working from a ladder, never step back to admire your work!" Lorne Muise, Operations Manager, Seven Lakes Oilfield Services

Ladder Inspection

The Life of a Ladder

Part of preventing ladder accidents, includes conducting a ladder inspection.  Ladders should be inspected before each use and promptly upon receiving the ladder.

What should you look for when inspecting a ladder? 
  Click here to view a ladder inspection checklist that outlines the areas that should be inspected before using a ladder.

Any defective ladders should be tagged and taken out of service.  Do not try to make temporary repairs or try to straighten or use bent ladders.