Stairways and Ladders

The focus of this safety and health page is limited to the hazards associated with stairways and ladders in the construction industry. Included under this heading are the requirements for ladder safety as it pertains to construction applications.

Stairways and Ladders

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is a stairway?

A stairway (or stairs) is a series of steps leading from one level or floor to another. A series of steps and landings having three or more risers constitutes a stairway (or stairs).

What is a ladder?

A ladder is an appliance usually consisting of two side rails joined at regular intervals by cross-pieces called steps, rungs, or cleats, on which a person may step when ascending or descending.

What are the hazards associated with stairways and ladders?

The major hazard associated with stairways and ladders is serious injury and death due to falls to a lower level. In addition, workers may become electrocuted when using metal ladders that contact live electrical parts or lines.

 

Solutions

Solutions

What can I do to protect myself?

Ladders should always be checked for damage before using them. Never exceed the manufacturer's load limit for a ladder which includes the weight of the user and any materials and equipment carried by them. Always maintain three (3) points of contact when ascending and descending a ladder.

What resources are available to assist employers?

  • The jobsite inspection checklist has a section devoted to ladders that can be used as a quick check for improper maintenance and use of ladders at a construction job site. 
  • The NCDOL A-Z topics page has information on fall protection that may be another resource for the employer or employee.

In addition, the NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). The education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request.

 

 

Regulations

Regulations

Which standards apply?

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.