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Ladders, Construction – Regulation 29 CFR 1926.1053

Enforcement from Oct 2021-Sept 2022

Total citations: 2,408

Total inspections: 2,039

Total proposed penalties: $7,071,296

Most Frequently Violated OSHA Standard Ranking – Number 4

Industries most often violating the ladders in construction standard:

  • Construction: 2,331 citations, 1,977 violations, $6,807,376 in proposed penalties
  • Manufacturing: 18, 16, $31,334
  • Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 16, 11, $46,809
  • Wholesale Trade: 9, 9, $90,254
  • Utilities: 7, 7, $32,579
  • Real Estate and Rental and Leasing: 6, 4, $13,208
  • Retail Trade: 6, 4, $13,233
  • Other Services (except Public Administration): 4, 2, $4,112
  • Transportation and Warehousing: 3, 3, $10,296
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 3, 2, $10,773
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 2, 1, $4,351
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: 1, 1, $2,809
  • Public Administration: 1, 1, $2,610
  • Accommodation and Food Services: 1, 1, $1,554 72


Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. In 2020, there were 161 fatal work injuries from which ladders were the primary source. There were 105 deaths specifically from movable ladders in 2020 and five deaths from fixed ladders. Ladder-related injuries can be severe and cause disability, changing the lives of workers and their families. Associated costs include work loss, medical, legal, liability, and pain and suffering expenses.

Ladder-Related Fatalities in 2023

The following incidents were investigated by OSHA:

01/09/2023 – Mapleton, MN – Thomas Massop (63) died in fall from ladder.

01/16/2023 – Shiloh, IL – Thomas Orf (59) died in fall from ladder after receiving electrical shock.

01/26/2023 – Greenville, NC – Christopher Stutzman (55) died in fall from ladder.

02/08/2023 – Seward, NE – Samuel Christensen (35) died in fall from ladder.

02/14/2023 – Victorville, CA – Robert Velasquez (59) died in fall from ladder.

02/14/2023 – New Shoreham, RI – Jorge Bran Dimas (31) died in fall from ladder.

03/15/2023 – Miami, FL  – Abdel Assaf (55) died in fall from ladder.

04/02/2023 – Greensboro, NC – Luis Ventura (48) fatally injured in fall from ladder.

05/01/2023 – Kyle, TX – Miranda Ayers (43) died in fall from ladder.

A few common causes of ladder incidents:

  • A person falls off a ladder when overreaching.
  • Lack of three-point contact
  • A ladder is placed on unlevel or soft ground and falls over.
  • The wrong ladder (size/type/weight limit) is used for an application.
  • Lack of inspection (damaged ladder)

Safe ladder use tips:1

  • Choose the right ladder. Consider the height that will need to be reached and the weight the ladder will need to hold.
  • Has the ladder been inspected? Do not use if damaged, defective or if the steps are greasy.
  • Place the ladder on a firm, solid surface and avoid unstable, slippery, wet or soft surfaces.
  • If ladder must be set on a soft surface, place a board under the ladder’s feet.
  • Place a straight or extension ladder one foot away from the surface it’s resting on for every four feet of the ladder’s height.
  • Make sure straight or extension ladders extend three feet above the roof or platform you’re trying to reach.
  • Securely fasten straight or extension ladders to an upper support.
  • Make sure step ladders are opened completely and spreaders locked before climbing.
  • Guard doorways near any ladder so no one can open it and knock the user off the ladder.
  • Face the ladder and grip the rungs, not the side rails.
  • Always keep three points of contact with the ladder: two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • Do not stand higher than the third step from the top.
  • Don’t lean or overreach; reposition the ladder instead.
  • Don’t climb while carrying tools; use a tool belt or pull up bucket on a rope from below.
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes.
  • Never have someone climb up to bring you something; only one person should be on a ladder at a time.

An App to Promote Safe Ladder Practices

Ladder angle significantly affects ladder stability. Research has suggested that ladder users tend to position extension ladders at suboptimal angles, which increases the risk of ladder slide-out events and associated falls. A ladder set too steeply or too shallow cannot provide safe support.

Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed, evaluated, and patented a method and technology for positioning extension ladders at an optimal angle. NIOSH then partnered with ATL International and DS Federal Inc. to transform the ladder safety technology into the first NIOSH Smart Phone application “Ladder Safety.” It features an easy-to-use ladder positioning tool—an indicator that provides visual, sound, and vibrational signals—to assist users in quickly positioning an extension ladder to the proper angle. The application also provides graphic-oriented interactive reference materials, safety guidelines, and checklists for extension ladder selection, inspection, accessorizing, and use, which can serve as a convenient reference and training tool. To ensure that the guidance materials are up to date with the latest ladder safety standards, NIOSH partnered with the American Ladder Institute and the American National Standards Institute A14 committee. The NIOSH Ladder Safety Smart Phone app is available as a free download for Apple and Android mobile devices in both English and Spanish.

Ladder Inspection

  • Inspect your ladder before using it. Don’t use a ladder with structural damage.
  • Clean your ladder regularly. A clean ladder is much safer than a dirty ladder.
  • Check to make sure all moving parts work properly and are secured in place.
  • Never check a ladder by jumping up and down on it or using excess force to test for strength and integrity. WMHS




For information about how to safely use specific types of ladders, visit:


LadderPort: 800-770-8851

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