Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-22-2020


Traditional guidance on ladder safety emphasizes training workers on the use of three points of contact. More recent guidance is to train workers to use three points of control. What is lacking is empirical information about what limb-movement patterns effectively support the use of three points of control. This project was conducted to establish a taxonomy of possible limb-movement patterns and a means for comparing relative safety. Prior to the experiment, a taxonomy of six possible limb-movement patterns was established. A sample of 20 undergraduate students performed four tasks each without any instructions on limb-movement pattern. The tasks were ascending and descending a straight ladder and a portable ladder, once each, while being videotaped. Out of 80 observed tasks, 59 of the subjects were using rungs rather than rails. Analysis of rung users identified the use of all six patterns. An innovative measure of safe performance was developed and used to compare the patterns. Statistical analysis did not find significant differences in the patterns based on the safety performance measure.