Each year, OSHA compiles a list of the top 10 most cited violations that compliance safety and health officers see on their site visits. Ladders offer easy access to places we normally can’t reach, but they can easily become a slippery slope to a citation. Improper use and maintenance can be tough with these pieces of equipment!
The following aspects of the Ladder standard are the most commonly cited by OSHA for the 2018 fiscal year:
The top of a portable ladder must extend past the surface of landing by 3 feet, or if this is not possible, then the ladder must be secured to an anchor point with support to help employees up 1926.1053(b)(1)
Ladders shall only be used for their intended purpose 1926.1053(b)(4)
The top or top step of a ladder should not be used as a step 1926.1053(b)(13)
Portable ladders with any structural defects must be immediately marked in a manner that readily identifies them as defective or tagged with ‘Do Not Use’ until they can be repaired 1926.1053(b)(16)
The horizontal distance from the top of a non-self-supporting ladder to the foot should be ¼ of the working length of the ladder 1926.1053(b)(5)(i).
In order to avoid these citations, a ladder management program should be adhered to and regular maintenance conducted.
Always be sure that your ladder is either secured to a certified anchor point or jutting out past the surface of landing by three feet. This may be measured easily with a tape measure. The same goes for the proper horizontal distance when using a non-self-supporting ladder. Last, ensure no employee thinks that the top step of a ladder is a safe step.