Ladders are indispensable in golf maintenance, so it’s very important that all employees on the team are aware of how to safely use a ladder. Most people have used a ladder at some point in their lives, however, few people know how to use a ladder safely. In fact, thousands of ladder accidents occur each year, and hundreds of those accidents result in death. Ladder accidents in the workplace are common, but they’re also very preventable.

In order to prevent accidents, everyone who uses ladders should know how to properly select, inspect, and operate a ladder.

First, Pick the Right Ladder Type

There are several different kinds of ladders designed for different tasks, and it’s very important that the right type of ladder is used for the task.

Some of the types of ladders are: step stools, step ladders, and extension ladders. To select the right ladder to consider:

  • The first thing to consider is the ladder height required for the job. One of the most common mistakes is to select a ladder that is too short for the task at hand. This leads to employees standing on the top two steps of a step ladder (bad idea) or overreaching on other types of ladders (another bad idea). If a ladder is leaning against a building it should be at least three feet or two rungs higher than the building it’s resting against.
  • The second thing to consider is body weight. Every ladder will clearly indicate its weight capacity. Employees should make sure that the combined weight of their body and the tools they will carry do not exceed the ladder’s maximum carry weight.
  • The third thing to consider is the ladder’s material. Some of the common materials ladders are made of are wood, fibreglass and metal. The important one to watch out for is metal because it’s a conductive material. It’s important that metal ladders are not used near energy sources, as it increases the risk of electrical arcing.

It’s very important to check the ladder’s condition every time you use it. A faulty ladder cannot be used safely, so everyone on the team should be trained on how to inspect the ladder prior to using it.

Look for:

  • Damaged side rails
  • Rungs
  • Supports
  • Bent or corroded metal
  • Cracks

Make sure that:

  • Steps are properly secured
  • Spreaders and locking devices are functioning correctly
  • All the rungs and feet are non-slip
  • Nuts and bolts are secure
  • All sides of the ladder are clean
  • There is no grease, oil solvents etc. on the rungs or sides of the ladder
  • Wooden ladders are not painted

If any irregularities like the above are noticed, the ladder should be removed from service immediately.  Technically you can make repairs to ladders but with the number of lawsuits regarding ladders we recommend throwing defective ladders away and purchasing new if they need repair.

Ladder Safety Guidelines

Among the most common hazards associated with ladders are slips, trips, falls, electric shock and ladder tip over. Most ladder accidents can be prevented by ensuring that everyone on the team is trained to use ladders correctly.

The following measures will greatly reduce the risk of ladder accidents:

  • Wear sturdy shoes that are clean and free of elements that cause slips
  • Always wear PPE
  • Put the ladder on a firm, level ground
  • Always face the ladder
  • Always maintain 3 points of contact
  • Do not carry objects up or down the ladder
  • Set the ladder at the right angle
  • Follow the belt buckle rule: keep your belt buckle positioned between the side rails at all times
  • Always have a coworker near to watch out and hold ladder if needed
  • If using an extension ladder, secure the top of the ladder before climbing. Make sure the top of the ladder is 3’ above the top of the building or the structure you are going to climb over and use the 4-1 rule in the graphic to set up the ladder properly.

Its the superintendents responsibility to have a safety plan, train employees on ladder safety practices and ensure that ladder inspections are performed.


to subscribe to our newsletter, get free safety posters and more safety resources! 


15 Items That Should Be in Your First Aid Kit

15 items that should be in your first aid kit  Accidents can happen any day, especially in golf course maintenance. Your crew is exposed to a myriad of hazards, so first aid is an essential part of your safety program. In most circumstances, it will take more than a few minutes to get medical attention

Read More »

Safety When Working Near Golfers

Safety When Working Near Golfers Given that a golf course is a sporting venue as well as a place of work, it’s important to prioritize safety for both golfers and staff. Golf may seem like a safe sport but flying golf balls can cause serious injuries. There are a few things that employers can do,

Read More »

Bee, Insect and Snake Injury

One of the primary draws to golf – for both golfers and course staff – is the natural, wide-open spaces that the game takes place in. While the rolling greens and lush wilds provide an escape from bustling urban life, their idyllic expanses can hide their own dangers that Superintendents and staff need to be

Read More »

Hand Wash Posters – COVID-19 & Golf Maintenance

Everyone is telling you to wash your hands but, are you, and your crew, washing your hands properly? If your golf course is still open or making use of skeleton staff, print this as a safety precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19. download posters RECEIVE FREE POSTERS & SAFETY TIPS to subscribe to our

Read More »

Coronavirus & The Workplace

The COVID-19 outbreak, which started in China has now spread to over 60 other countries around the world, the United States included. The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee officially declared the spread of the virus as a “public health emergency of international concern” on January 30, 2020. The good news is that there are ways

Read More »

OSHA Violations: Can you blame your crew?

What happens when OSHA violations occur on your golf course? Who is to blame? Most of the time people believe that it is ALWAYS a failure of management. That Management Failed to: Develop safety policies Failed to provide safety training Failed to enforce the rules. But, what happens when you did all that and an

Read More »