No matter your industry, ladder safety and fall prevention training is critical.
Across many different industries, ladder safety and fall prevention training is critical. Whether you have a program that needs updating or are starting from scratch, here’s how to develop and roll-out ladder safety training to your employees. Later in this post, you'll also find a free ladder safety training online course that you can immediately roll-out to employees who need it most.
What is ladder safety training?
In 2013, just under 176,000 people in the U.S. suffered injuries on a ladder that required a trip to the emergency room. In 2016, 20,000 people were injured on ladders at work. That same year there were 133 ladder fatalities.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that the vast majority of these annual accidents and fatalities could have been prevented with proper training.
Ladder safety training is a critical part of ongoing employee training. As part of the OSHA's Safety and Health Regulations for construction, ladder safety training is a requirement. For any work that utilizes an elevated surface that might include a ladder or scaffolding, ladder safety training is generally required. Even if your employees use ladders infrequently, a basic understanding of how to use them properly and safely could just save a life.
What are OSHA ladder safety training requirements?
According to OSHA ladder safety training requirements, every employee who regularly uses ladders and elevated stairways must be trained in their proper use.
Basic ladder safety should be provided for all employees. Those in specialized work environments (e.g., working on scaffolding or ladders near electricity) will need more extensive training.
What ladder safety training topics should I cover?
Ladder safety training focuses specifically on:
- Identifying fall hazards
- Correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling fall protection systems
- Maximum load (weight) allowed on different ladders and fall protection systems
- The proper uses of and care for ladders and other equipment
- The use of proper footwear and safety equipment
- General fall prevention training
We cover some of these in the free course below.
Identifying fall hazards
This initial aspect of ladder safety training helps employees recognize conditions that might lead to falls. This includes things like worn ladder treads, slick surfaces, and other potential safety issues.
Other fall hazards might be overhanging electrical wires or tree limbs.
Correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling fall protection systems
Many falls are caused by equipment that is not set up safely.
Your ladder safety training course should first cover procedures to safely assemble, maintain, and disassemble ladders and other elevated equipment.
Maximum load (weight)
Each ladder and scaffold has a maximum weight that it can hold. This includes both the worker and their tools.
Ladder safety training helps employees identify the different types of ladders and determine which one is suitable for their work and potential load.
Like every other piece of equipment, ladders require regular maintenance and safety checks.
Basic ladder safety training helps employees recognize the signs of wear that might compromise safety. It also instructs them on ways to alert supervisors to damage or other potential risks.
Proper footwear and safety equipment
Even employees who use ladders infrequently must be made aware of the proper footwear and safety equipment required. What seems like a quick trip up a mobile stairway to check a stock number might require a harness or other personal fall arrest system.
Train employees to know what’s required and when, with signage and training.
Fall prevention training
General fall prevention training helps employees develop proper techniques for using equipment to better avoid accidents.
Depending on their role, ladder safety training may cover proper climbing techniques (the three point-of-contact climb) as well as the use of safety harnesses and other fall arrest systems.
Free ladder safety training online
Since so many deaths can be prevented with simple training, we developed a free ladder safety training online course that you can use immediately for your employees. This web-based version only covers the basics, and can't take the place of full training, but it's a great place to start if you need to get training out fast. We welcome you to share it with your employees.
Need a longer ladder safety training program for your workforce? EdgePoint Learning can help. Contact us today to learn more about our custom and co-development options, as well as online, mobile, and blended learning opportunities.
How to design ladder safety training for today's employees
Design your ladder safety training by first deciding who needs training and in what order. Employees who regularly use ladders and other elevated work surfaces should be your priority. Use a training needs analysis to quickly figure out your training needs. You can learn more about this step in our earlier training needs analysis post.
Next, figure out how you’re going to deliver your training. Pushing your training online or mobile makes it easy for employees to attend initial training and keep up to date on any changes. A ladder safety training program should be a featured part of your onboarding process, of course, but it’s more than just a one-and-done training.
Like the three point-of-contact climb, consider adding multiple touch-points for training.
Make it easy to remember, and hard to forget. Delivering microlearning resources in the flow of work is a great way to keep employees engaged and refreshed on best practices. Consider other training tools to deliver information exactly where it’s needed. For example, you can set up a geofence to alert employees to potential fall hazards in new work areas. A geofence can also deliver a reminder to use personal arrest systems in specific areas.
Beyond the initial training, those who work in the field should be able to easily review safety protocols through on-the-job performance support. Performance support tools can also guide employees through proper ladder set-up and removal procedures. Integrate reminders into your employees' days using safety checklists. These ensure compliance at every step of set up, use, and disassembly.
Finally, AR-assisted performance support can be useful for employees who need help using equipment correctly or for managers to quickly put together site-specific resources. Our PinPoint app allows employees to capture 2D images to launch a 3D AR training. This image recognition can be useful at all stages of ladder safety training and support.
Build your ladder safety training program
Starting a new training program from scratch can be challenging, but EdgePoint can help.
PinPoint is our precision microlearning app that helps your employees access mobile training right in the flow of work, with robust performance support tools. We also create full custom online training courses, or act as an extension of your team with co-development options.