Ladder and Scaffold Safety Tips

Ladders are one of the leading causes of injuries on construction sites. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that 8 in 10 work site injuries reported in emergency rooms in the US involved ladders. These injuries pertain to falls most of the time, as ladders can tip or become unstable if you do not have the proper safety knowledge for your equipment.

There are many different types of ladders and scaffolding used on construction sites and knowing the ins and outs of your work equipment is essential for a safe and productive work day. Thankfully, these injuries are very preventable. Here are some important safety tips that you can take with you on your next day at the construction site:

Safety Tips: Ladders

  • Use ladders with non-conductive side rails when near electrical poles, conductors or equipment. Aluminum ladders should not be used as electricity goes through metal very fast and can cause injury and even death.
  • Set the ladder you are using on solid ground and against a solid support if possible.
  • Make sure to choose the proper size ladder and proper type of ladder for the job you are doing. There are industrial and commercial brands which each have their own load capacity. Industrial is heavy duty, while commercial is medium duty.
  • Check that the ladder has the appropriate fittings and safety feet for the job.
  • If using a straight ladder, make sure the side rails extend at least 3 feet above the landing.
  • Climb the ladder very carefully. Always face the ladder and use both hands when you are climbing, keeping your hands free of tools or equipment. A work belt or handline can be used to hold any tools you need for the job.
  • Never try adding more height to a ladder by adding other objects to the top. 
  • If using job-issued ladder cleats, make sure they are 15-20 inches wide and spaced 12 inches apart vertically.
  • Don’t run hoses through ladders or put cords or things that could be moved through the holes of the ladder. 
  • Put the base of a straight ladder out and away from the wall/edge of the upper level about 1 foot for every 4 feet of vertical height.
  • Check your shoes for oil, grease or other slippery substances before climbing up on the ladder.
  • Never lean over the side of the ladder while on it. If something is out of reach, carefully climb down and grab it on solid ground.
  • Check the ladder for any defects such as: loose steps, loose rungs, cracks/splits/bent edges. Also check that the fasteners are tight and secure. 
  • Never exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder.
  • Most ladders are made for one person, use scaffolding for bigger jobs instead.

For some construction jobs, ladders are not always the safest or best option. When this happens, scaffolding will be used. Here are some practical and useful safety tips for when scaffolding is used on the work site.

Safety Tips: Scaffolding (Baker/Perry)

  • Assess and inspect scaffold components and confirm they are all working properly.
  • Keep the scaffolding platform free from tripping hazards.
  • Lock the wheels of the scaffold with positive wheel and/or wheel and swivel locks to prevent movement while working.
  • Do not exceed load capacity on casters.
  • Use guardrails. This includes top rails, midrails and toe boards.
  • Stay 10 feet away from energized power lines.
  • Never stand on the guard rail.
  • Do not use a scaffold if it is missing parts or broken.
  • Make sure all locking pins are engaged before using the scaffold.
  • If outriggers are installed, make sure to deploy the installed outrigger.
  • Know and understand the fall distance of the job you are doing.
  • Select an acceptable anchor point.
  • Inspect PPE before use.
  • Wear the correct PPE for the job you are doing.

Following proper safety training and rules for the equipment you are using on the job is the most important way to stay injury-free. No matter if you are making home repairs or running a construction site, you’ll find that reliable ladders and scaffolding are a must-have for any job. Dangerous accidents can be avoided just by being aware of the safety protocols for these popular tools. Think of these safety tips as just another tool in your belt!

Rent the Right Tool for the Job 

You probably agree that safety is not a luxury, it’s a requirement for every worksite. You’ll never go wrong with an extra scaffold, or a state-of-the-art power generator. At Elephant Construction Solutions, we offer you and your team all of the equipment you need to get the job done. We have everything you need–including scaffolding, power tools, air compressors, power generators, lawn mowers and nail guns–to get your project done quickly and safely. 

Reach out to us here to get a free quote for all of your equipment needs. 

Elephant Construction Solutions is a latino-family-owned business based in Pharr, TX. We combine many years of experience in different fields to finally offer you, our customer, a real solution of tools and equipment so you can be more productive.


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