OHS Canada Magazine


Ladder Safety in Construction

All workplace parties — employers, supervisors and workers — are responsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and prescribed regulations. There are many factors to consider for the safe use of ladders on construction projects. Below are some of the health and safety considerations and best practices for using ladders on construction projects:

• Does a ladder provide the safest means of access and egress for the work location and type of work – or would stairs or a ramp be better, especially with respect to workplace emergency procedures?
• What type of ladder is most suitable considering the workplace restrictions and conditions (height, space, proximity of energized power lines, top support, footing support surface, etc.)? Never use metal ladders near energized electrical equipment or wires.
• Has the proper equipment been provided for material handling to reduce the risk of overexertion or musculoskeletal disorders? (Consider work positioning, lifting devices, etc.)
• How are materials and equipment transported or moved between levels?
• Is the user of the ladder able to maintain three-point contact at all times when entering to or leaving the work location?
• If work must be carried out at height, a work platform should be used. Ladders should be used to work at heights only as a last resort – when location restrictions prevent the use of a work platform.
• A worker on a ladder must be protected against falling if he/she is working at a height of 3 metres or more.
• Defective ladders should be taken out of service and discarded.
• All workers, including young workers and workers new to the job, must be adequately trained and properly supervised.
• Specific work-related hazards must be analyzed and relevant controls established.

Ontario Ministry of Labour’s mission is to advance safe, fair and harmonious workplace practices that are essential to the social and economic well-being of the people of Ontario.