Extension Ladders:  Extension ladders generally have two sections that operate in brackets to allow for adjusting the ladder’s length.  OSHA notes that these types of ladders need a stable structure to hold loads, as they are not self-supporting.

OSHA recommends a variety of tips for safely using extension ladders, including:

  • Ensure the extension ladder can support at least 4 times its maximum intended load. 
    (OSHA notes that extra-heavy-duty type 1A metal or plastic ladders should sustain at least 3.3 times their maximum intended load.)
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have a competent person inspect all extension ladders before use.  If a ladder is determined to be damaged, immediately mark it with a “defective” sign.  
    Never attempt to use a damaged ladder.
  • Place the ladder at the correct angle.  When leaned against a wall, the ladder’s bottom should be one-quarter of its working length away from the wall.
  • Keep the spaces around the top and bottom of the ladder uncluttered.
  • Use a ladder with non-conductive side rails, if the ladder could come into contact with energized electrical equipment.  Keep all ladders a minimum of 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Never use an extension ladder horizontally.
  • Maintain three points of contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) when on a ladder.
  • Do not carry tools when climbing or descending a ladder - use a tool belt instead.
  • Ensure the ladder is not placed on a slippery surface.

Also good to note - when multiple trades are within the same area, it is a best practice to demarcate access point to the ladder, preventing accidental displacement.

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