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Ladders - Step

What should you do when using a stepladder?

  • Check the load rating that is marked on the stepladder. The rating should cover the person’s weight and the weight of tools that will be used. 
  • Use a stepladder that is about 1 m (3 ft) shorter than the highest point you have to reach. This gives a wider, more stable base and places shelf at a convenient working height.
  • Do not use a ladder that has cracks, lose or corroded rivets, defective braces, or parts (including the slip resistant feet) that are in poor condition. Make sure it is free of grease or oil or other slippery substances.
  • Open the stepladder spreaders and shelf fully and lock the braces.
  • Check stability. Ensure that all ladder feet are on a firm, level and non-slippery surface.
  • Place a stepladder at right angles to the work, with either the front or back of the steps facing the work.
  • Keep the stepladder close to the work.
Lock Spreader
  • Avoid pushing or pulling stepladders from the side. Repeated sideways movement can make ladders wobbly since they are weaker or less stable in those directions.
  • Face the stepladder when climbing up or down. Keep your body centered between side rails. You have climbed too high if your knees are above top of the stepladder or if you cannot maintain a handhold on the ladder.
  • Maintain a firm grip. Use both hands when climbing.

What are step ladder ratings, and is there a maximum length for a step ladder?

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard Z11-12 recommends different lengths for different rating (or grades) of ladders.

Grade Description of Grade Length
1AA Construction and industrial use; special duty with load rating of 170 kg (375 lbs) 3.6 m (12 ft)
1A Construction and industrial use; extra heavy duty with load rating of 136 kg (300 lbs) 6 m (20 ft)
1 Construction and industrial use; heavy duty with load rating of 113 kg (250 lbs) 6 m (20 ft)
2 Tradesmen and farm; medium duty with a load rating of 102 kg (225 lbs) 3.6 m (12 ft)
3 Household; light duty with load rating of 91 kg (200 lbs) 2 m (6.5 ft)

What should you avoid when using a stepladder?

  • Do not overreach. Move a stepladder when needed.
  • Do not "shift" or "walk" a stepladder when standing on it.
  • Do not stand, climb, or sit on the stepladder top or pail shelf.
  • Do not stand on or above the top two rungs or steps of the stepladder.
  • Do not overload. Stepladders are meant for one person.
  • Do not use a stepladder as a brace or as a support for a work platform or plank.
Avoid!
  • Do not climb a stepladder that is leaning against a wall. Use a straight ladder instead.
  • Do not use stepladders on slippery surfaces
  • Do not use stepladders on soft ground where one leg may sink farther into the ground than others.
  • Do not place stepladders on boxes, barrels, unstable bases, or on scaffolds to gain additional height.
  • Do not climb the back of a stepladder.
  • Do not push or pull stepladders sideways.
  • Do not use ladders in passageways, doorways, driveways or other locations where a person or vehicle can hit it. Set up suitable barriers or lock doors shut.
Stepladder Components

Document last updated on June 20, 2016

Disclaimer

Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.