2OSHA Regulations 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart X - Stairways and Ladders ReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedReservedTraining1926 Subpart X - App A - LaddersScope, applications, and definitions, applicable to this subpartGeneral requirementsStairwaysLadders
3Inventive way to use a Ladder Bottom Line Don’t Try It
61926.1050(a) Scope and Application This subpart applies to all stairways and ladders used in construction, alteration, repair (including painting and decorating), and demolition workplaces covered under 29 CFR part 1926, and also sets forth, in specified circumstances, when ladders and stairways are required to be provided. Additional requirements for ladders used on or with scaffolds are contained in Subpart L - Scaffolds.
8(b) Definitions"Cleat" means a ladder crosspiece of rectangular cross section placed on edge upon which a person may step while ascending or descending a ladder."Double-cleat ladder" means a ladder similar in construction to a single-cleat ladder, but with a center rail to allow simultaneous two-way traffic for employees ascending or descending.
9(b) Definitions"Extension trestle ladder" means a self-supporting portable ladder, adjustable in length consisting of a trestle ladder base and a vertically adjustable extension section, with a suitable means for locking the ladders together.
10(a) Provide a stairway or ladder at all personnel points of access where there is a break in elevation of 19 inches(48 cm) or more, and no ramp, runway, sloped embankment, or personnel hoist is provided.
11a)(2) Provide a double-cleated ladder or two or more separate ladders when ladders are the only mean of access or exit from a working area for 25 or more employees, or when a ladder is to serve simultaneous two-way traffic.
12Stairways(a)(1) Stairways must have landings of not less than 30 inches (76 cm) in the direction of travel and extend at least 22 inches (56 cm) in width at every 12 feet (3.7 m) or less of vertical rise.
13Stairways(a)(2) Install stairs between 30 deg. and 50 deg. from horizontal.(a)(4) Provide a platform where doors or gates open directly on a stairway; the swing of the door must not reduce the effective width of the platform to less than 20 inches (51 cm).
141926.1052(a)(3) Riser height and tread depth must be uniform within each flight of stairs, including any foundation structure used as one or more treads of the stairs. Variations in riser height or tread depth shall not be over 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) in any stairway system.LANDINGTreadRise
151926.1052(a)(7) Eliminate slippery conditions on stairways before the stairways are used to reach other levels.
161926.1052(c)-Stairrails and handrails Equip stairways having four or more risers or rising more than 30 inches (76 cm), whichever is less, with:At least one handrail; andOne stairrail system along each unprotected side or edge.
171926.1052(c)The height of stairrails must be as follows:Stairrails installed after March 15, 1991, must be not less than 36 inches (91.5 cm) from the upper surface of the stairrail system to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread.Stairrails installed before March 15, 1991, must be not less than 30 inches (76 cm) nor more than 34 inches (86 cm) from the upper surface of the stairrail system to the surface of the tread, in line with the face of the riser at the forward edge of the tread.
18(c)(5) Handrails and the top rails of stairrail systems must be capable of withstanding, without failure, a force of at least 200 pounds applied within 2 inches (5 cm) of the top edge, in any downward or outward direction, at any point along the top edge.
19Stairway Systems(c)(7) When the top edge of a stairrail system also serves as a handrail(c)(8) Stairrail systems and handrails surface(c)(9) Handrails must provide an adequate handhold(c)(10) The ends of stairrail systems and handrails must not be a projection hazard(c)(11) Handrails not a permanent part of the structure(c)(12) Unprotected sides and edges of stairway landings
23Ladders(a)(2) Ladder rungs, cleats, and steps must be parallel, level, and uniformly spaced when the ladder is in position for use.(a)(3)(i) Rungs, cleats, and steps of portable ladders must be spaced not less than 10 inches (25 cm) apart, nor more than14 inches (36 cm) apart, as measured between center lines of the rungs, cleats and steps.
24Ladders rungs(a)(4)(ii) The minimum clear distance between side rails for all portable ladders is 11 1/2 inches (29cm).(a)(5) The rungs of individual-rung/step ladders must be shaped such that employees' feet cannot slide off the end of the rungs.(a)(6)(i) The rungs and steps of fixed metal ladders manufactured after March 15, 1991, must be corrugated,knurled, dimpled, coated with skid-resistant material, or otherwise treated to minimize slipping.
251926.1052(a)(12) Coating of Ladders Wood ladders must not be coated with any opaque covering, except for identification or warning labels which may be placed on one face only of a side rail.
26(b) UseThe following requirements apply to the use of all ladders, including job-made ladders, except as otherwise indicated:(b)(1) When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails must extend at least 3 feet (.9 m) above the upper landing surface
27(b) Use(b)(2) Maintain ladders free of oil, grease, and other slipping hazards.(b)(3) Do not load beyond the maximum intended load for which they were built, nor beyond their manufacturer's rated capacity.(b)(4) Use only for the purpose for which they were designed.(b)(5)(i) Use non-self-supporting ladders at an angle such that the horizontal distance from the top support to the foot of the ladder is approximately one-quarter of the working length of the ladder (the distance along the ladder between the foot and the top support).
28(b) Use(b)(12) If ladders are used where the employee or the ladder could contact exposed energized electrical equipment, they must have nonconductive siderails, except as provided in (c)(1) of this part.AluminumWood
29(b) Use(b)(13) Do not use the top or top step of a stepladder as a step.(b)(14) Do not use cross-bracing on the rear section of stepladders for climbing unless the ladders are designed and provided with steps for climbing on both front and rear sections.
301926.1053(b) Use Remove from service (b)(15) Must be inspected by a competent person for visible defects, e.g., broken or missing rungs, cleats,or steps, broken or split rails, corroded components, or other faulty or defective components.(b)(17) Withdraw from service until repaired: fixed ladders with structural defects, e.g., broken or missing rungs, cleats, or steps, broken or split rails, or corroded components.(b)(17)(i) Tag immediately with "Do Not Use" or similar language.(b)(17)(ii) Mark in a manner that readily identifies it as defective.Remove from service
311926.1053(b) Use (b)(20) Face the ladder when ascending or descending. (b)(21) Use at least one hand to grasp the ladder when progressing up and/or down theladder.(b)(22) Do not carry any object or load that could cause you to lose balance and fall.
34Ladders and Stairway Citations Standard #Cited #Insp. PenaltyCFR $ 32,259CFR $ 187,234CFR $ 234,475CFR $ 10,134Information Gathered from Inspections Conducted October 2002 through September 2003.
35Training(a) Must train each employee using ladders and stairways, as necessary, to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways, and the procedures to be followed to minimize these hazards.(a)(1) A competent person must train each employee in the following areas, as applicable:(a)(1)(i) The nature of fall hazards in the work area;(a)(1)(ii) The correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling the fall protection systems to be used;(a)(1)(iii) The proper construction, use, placement, and care in handling of all stairways and ladders;(a)(1)(iv) The maximum intended load-carrying capacities of ladders and(a)(1)(v) The standards contained in this subpart.(b) Retrain each employee as necessary to maintain the understanding and knowledge acquired through compliance with this section.
36More Inventive ways to use a Ladders Bottom Line Don’t Try It
37More Inventive ways to use a Ladders Bottom Line Don’t Try It
38More Inventive ways to use a Ladders Bottom Line Don’t Try It
39More Inventive ways to use a Ladders Bottom Line Don’t Try It
40More Inventive ways to use a Ladders Bottom Line Don’t Try It
42DISCLAIMERThis information has been developed by an OSHA Compliance Assistance Specialist and is intended to assist employers, workers, and others as they strive to improve workplace health and safety. While we attempt to thoroughly address recordkeeping, it is not possible to include discussion of everything necessary to ensure a healthy and safe working environment in a presentation of this nature. Thus, this information must be understood as a tool for addressing workplace hazards, rather than an exhaustive statement of an employer’s legal obligations, which are defined by statute,
43DISCLAIMERregulations, and standards. Likewise, to the extent that this information references practices or procedures that may enhance health or safety, but which are not required by a statute, regulation, or standard, it cannot, and does not, create additional legal obligations. Finally, over time, OSHA may modify rules and interpretations in light of new technology, information, or circumstances; to keep apprised of such developments, or to review information on a wide range of occupational safety and health topics, you can visit OSHA’s website at