Falls in the Workplace

Ladder Safety

Key points

  • Ladder-related fall injuries are common.
  • Use the right ladder for the job.
A man setting up a ladder.


In 2020, there were:1

  • 161 workplace fatalities from ladders
  • 22,710 workplace injuries from ladders
  • 5,790 ladder injuries in installation, maintenance, and repair jobs
  • 5,370 ladder injuries in construction and extraction jobs
  • 3,160 ladder injuries in service jobs

Workers who experience higher ladder fall injury rates include:2

  • Male
  • Hispanic
  • Older
  • Self-employed

Industries that experience higher ladder fall injury rates include:2

  • Construction
  • Maintenance
  • Repair
  • Small businesses

Keep in mind‎‎

Not all ladder injuries happen at work. Many ladder injuries happen at home. Using a ladder puts you at risk for a ladder-related fall injury.


Ladder fall injuries are a persistent hazard both in the workplace and at home. There are five major causes of ladder fall incidents:

1. Incorrect extension ladder set up angle

In about 40% of cases, the cause of the ladder-related injury is a ladder sliding out at the base from an incorrect set up angle.

Set up extension ladders at about a 75-degree angle.

2. Inappropriate ladder selection

Selection of a ladder with the proper size and duty-rating is important to avoid instability and structural failure. However, many ladder users lack knowledge of proper ladder selection.

3. Insufficient ladder inspection

Practice regular inspection and maintenance to reduce the likelihood of ladder structural failure.

4. Improper ladder use

Examples of improper ladder use include:

  • Overreaching while on the ladder
  • Carrying objects while going up or down the ladder
  • Applying excessive force while on the ladder

5. Lack of access to ladder safety tools and information

Small companies and individual ladder users do not typically receive the training for safe use of portable ladders. These ladder users are difficult to reach, often do not have access to safety information, and generally lack the resources to develop or follow an effective ladder safety program.

Use the Ladder Safety App‎‎

The Ladder Safety App is designed to improve extension and step ladder safety and prevent ladder-related injuries.
  1. BLS [2022]. The Economics Daily. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. April 25, 2022
  2. Socias C., Chaumont Menéndez C, Collins J, Simeonov P [2014]. Occupational Ladder Fall Injuries – United States, 2011. MMWR 63(16), April 25, 2014; 341-346.