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Federal ladder standards that must be met

Ladders are one of the most common tools used on a job site, but they can also be one of the most dangerous. Every year, falls cause serious injuries and even take lives. Ladders must be used safely.

That said, even workers who use ladders properly could be injured if the devices themselves are defective, so the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has laid out some guidelines that have to be followed. A few highlights include:

  • Most ladders need to be able to support four times the intended weight that is listed. So, if the maximum load is 250 pounds, that ladder actually needs to be able to hold 1,000 pounds.
  • There is an exception to the above. The limit is 3.3 times the maximum load for type 1A ladders made of plastic or metal.
  • All of the rungs have to be level, parallel and uniformly spaced.
  • Each rung needs to be able to hold 250 pounds all on its own. That weight limit is to be tested at the center, not the sides of the rung.
  • Manufacturers need to anticipate extra loads, such as those from rigging, wind or ice buildup.
  • Generally, all of the rungs need to be between 10 inches and 14 inches apart. The same spacing has to be used for all of the rungs on the ladder.

Were you injured when a defective ladder caused an accident, even though you followed all safety procedures and should never have been hurt? You could be facing high medical bills and lost wages while you recover, and it's important to know about all of the legal options you have.

Source: OSHA, "Stairways and Ladders," accessed Nov. 10, 2017

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