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Occupational Health Branch

Occupational Health Watch: March 2019

Preventing Falls from Ladders

A construction worker wearing a hard hat and tool belt climbs a ladder onto a roof.For a school district custodian who was cleaning windows, the wrong-sized ladder and a lack of training had tragic and fatal consequences. You can read what went wrong and see prevention recommendations in the California Fatality Assessment and Evaluation Control (FACE) investigation.

Falls from ladders caused 836 fatalities in the U.S. from 2011 through 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers most at risk for falls from ladders are those in construction, maintenance, and repair.

Employers and workers can use our ladder safety resources below and can also plan to participate in the National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls each year, during the first week of May. Visit the One-Stop Shop for videos, webinars, training materials, and activities that can be used at your jobsite. 

Photo: Ensuring a proper ladder extension set-up angle can prevent falls.


Mobile ladder safety app – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Step (PDF) and extension (PDF) ladder tailgate training cards – OHB and BuildSafe

Preventing Falls Through Skylights and in the Solar Industry – California FACE action pages

Lead's Revenge: Training Video on Lead Paint and Ladder Safety – OHB

Falls in the Workplace – NIOSH topic page

Portable Ladder Safety eTool – Cal/OSHA website

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