Ladder Safety Training: A Brief Guide

Discover what ladder safety training is, why it’s important, its key principles, and the best practices for implementing an effective safety training program.

workers conducting ladder safety training sessions

What is Ladder Safety Training?

Ladder safety training is the practice of teaching employees the best practices and the different ways to eliminate risks when using ladders. This involves identifying and assessing risks, wearing appropriate PPE, and only using ladders when authorized or in necessary situations. If your employees use ladders on a regular basis, you must conduct ladder safety training to prevent accidents and near misses.

Ladder safety is often overlooked when developing or creating a safety training program for the organization. That said, it’s a critical area of safety training, as it’s common for employees to use ladder during operations.


Ladders are useful tools for employees to perform their jobs successfully, especially those who work at heights or outdoors. However, they bring serious hazards when used improperly. In the US, for example, it has led to over 160 fatal injuries as of 2020.

While you can’t eliminate the risks that come with using ladders, you can apply controls and measures to minimize the risks and dangerous of climbing ladders. That’s why it’s crucial for organizations to have ladder safety training courses for all employees.

It’s important that all employees go through this training, especially if working at heights and using ladders are part of your regular operations. On top of that, managers should tailor their ladder safety training courses to the unique needs of the organization to ensure they account for all risks.

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Key Principles of Ladder Safety Training

While it’s best for organizations to tweak their ladder safety training courses to their needs, there are a few principles of these courses that you must include. That way, you cover all the basic risks associated with working with ladders and at heights to keep your employees safe. Below are a few of the key principles of a ladder safety training course:

Equipment Inspections

It’s critical for managers to ensure that employees inspect the ladders and equipment before use to prevent accidents. A major part of ladder safety training courses must include how to properly inspect a ladder and why regularly inspecting it can prevent accidents.

Ladder Selection

Not all ladders are suitable for every task. Training should cover how to choose the right ladder for the job based on height, load capacity, and other factors. It’s also best to consult your local authorities (e.g., Occupational Safety and Health Administration) for compliance with ladder safety regulations in your area.

Proper Setup

Before an employee steps on a ladder, they should make sure it’s set up properly. To do this, they must learn proper ladder setups and how some ladders may have different setup processes. That way, you reduce the risk of accidents due to the ladder being set up in the wrong way.

Climbing Safety

Workers should be taught how to ascend and descend ladders safely. This includes maintaining three points of contact, using both hands when climbing, and avoiding overreaching. Additionally, you may want to instill these practices in employees before they are allowed to use ladders in the field.

Working at Height Training

Training should cover safe work practices while on a ladder, such as not leaning too far, keeping the body within the ladder’s sides, and using tool belts to avoid carrying items while climbing. Various accidents are caused by not being careful when working at heights, which is why ladder safety training must include tips for working at heights.

Best Practices for Ladder Safety Training

Here are some tips when conducting ladder safety training to ensure all employees are equipped to enter the field and work with ladders.

Develop Comprehensive Programs

The best way to ensure that everyone is properly equipped to use ladders in the field is to put a lot of focus on your training program. It’s critical that all employees are trained in the essential dos and don’ts when using ladders to avoid accidents and injuries in the field.

Ensure Continuous Learning

Learning and training never stop when it comes to safety. Whenever there’s an accident or near miss, or if it’s been a while since the last safety training session, you should conduct follow-up training. That way, your employees are updated on the best practices and make the appropriate adjustments to align themselves with the industry standards for safety.

Maintain Proper Documentation

Employers should keep records of ladder safety training sessions, including attendance and training materials. This documentation can be invaluable in case of accidents or inspections. It also allows you to revisit the data to find areas of improvement and identify the key problems to be addressed for future training.

Leverage Technology for Enhanced Learning

Utilizing technology in ladder safety training improves accessibility, engagement, and monitoring, enhancing overall workplace safety. This is why organizations are encouraged to use digital platforms and tools when conducting safety training courses.

One of these tools includes Training from the SafetyCulture platform. This mobile-first solution lets employees complete ladder safety training using their phones anytime, anywhere. With this platform, they can seamlessly receive the information they need in a bite-sized format without disruptions to their day-to-day workflows.

Leon Altomonte
Article by

Leon Altomonte

SafetyCulture Content Contributor
Leon Altomonte is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. With his language degree and years of experience in content writing, he delivers well-researched, informative articles about safety, quality, and operational excellence. In addition to his professional pursuits, Leon maintains a creative outlet as a performing musician.