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Portable ladders
  • OSHA has additional requirements for portable ladders that cover load capacity, slipping on rungs/steps, moving while occupied, and more.

The portable ladder requirements are in addition to the requirements for all ladders. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also uses performance-based requirements for portable ladders.

OSHA has several requirements for portable ladders, including:

  • Rungs and steps must be treated to minimize the possibility of slipping while climbing up and down the ladder. OSHA suggests the use of skid-resistant coatings, dimpling or corrugating metal rungs and steps, etc.
  • Stepladders and combination ladders must be equipped with metal spreader or locking devices.
  • Ladders must not be loaded beyond their maximum intended load capacity. This includes the weight of the employee and any tools or equipment carried.
  • Portable ladders must be used on stable surfaces; if the surface is slippery, the stepladder must be secured.
  • Single rail ladders are not allowed.
  • A portable ladder cannot be moved or shifted when an employee is on the ladder.
  • A portable ladder placed in a passageway, doorway, etc., must be secured to prevent displacement, and be guarded by a temporary barricade.
  • The cap or the top step of the stepladder may not be used as a step.
  • The top of a non-self-supporting ladder must be supported by both rails, unless the ladder is equipped with a single support attachment.
  • A portable ladder must extend at least 3 feet above an upper landing surface.
  • Portable ladders and ladder sections must not be tied together, unless they are designed for such use.
  • Portable ladders must not be placed on boxes, barrels, etc., to gain additional height.