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Working Load

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By Mark Reed
Estimated 2 minute read

The working load of a ladder can be defined as the maximum loading applied to the ladder during usage, including the weight of the user, the material to be accessed, or the materials to be worked on. This specification is important to guarantee that the ladder will be capable of sustaining the intended usage without posing any risk and achieving maximum durability.

Knowledge of the working load is crucial in determining which particular ladder is suitable for certain applications, be they residential or commercial ones or for specific industrial operations. The working load should not be exceeded, as this will increase the chances of ladder failure and lead to an increased risk of safety.

Key Benefits:

  • Safety: Ensures the ladder can support the combined weight of the user and any materials or tools.
  • Durability: Prevents overloading, which can damage the ladder and reduce its lifespan.
  • Compliance: Meets industry standards for safe ladder use.


  • Use in home improvement projects
  • Apply to construction sites
  • Perform industrial maintenance tasks
Q: What is the working load of a ladder? 

A: The working load is the maximum applied load a ladder can support, including the weight of the user, materials, and tools.

OSHA Compliance for Working Load

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets specific standards for ladder safety, including the working load. Key OSHA guidelines for working load include:

  • Design: Ensure ladders are designed to support the specified working load without failure. This includes the combined weight of the user, materials, and tools.
  • Load Capacity: Clearly label the working load capacity on the ladder to inform users of its maximum load limit.
  • Inspection: Regularly inspect ladders to ensure they remain in good condition and can support the specified working load. Address any signs of damage or wear immediately to maintain safety.
  • Proper Use: Train users on the importance of not exceeding the working load to prevent accidents and ensure the ladder’s longevity.

Additional Tips for Safe Ladder Use:

  • Three Points of Contact: Always maintain three points of contact (two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand) while climbing to ensure stability.
  • Stable Surface: Position the ladder on a firm, level surface to prevent slipping.
  • Correct Angle: Follow the 4-to-1 rule for the ladder’s angle of inclination, ensuring it is positioned correctly.

Ensuring adherence to these guidelines helps maintain safety and compliance in both residential and commercial settings.

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